Vermont may be situated far away in the NE, but it still is not immune from drug traffickers. Marijuana, heroin and cocaine are readily available in Vermont. The majority of these illicit drugs are smuggled in from the North West, Boston, Chicago and even as far as Florida.
Cocaine remains a significant problem in the state. In addition the long porous and sparsely populated border with Canada has led to a number of drugs being smuggled in from Montréal. Despite the increased border security since 9/11, drug trafficking has been easy across the border.
Cocaine is readily available throughout Vermont and is widely abused. Recently, it has become noticed that a younger generation of inpiduals are abusing cocaine. These are mostly affluent middle class college students and esp. females. The majority of cocaine is brought in from New York, Boston, and New Jersey. The cocaine is usually brought in private automobiles with hidden compartments. There is no large drug organization distributing cocaine in Vermont. The majority of powder cocaine is converted to crack cocaine and sold on the streets.
Heroin is available in small quantities in the inner cities in Vermont. Most of the heroin users themselves distribute the drug. The majority of heroin is brought to the state by the user himself. The majority of users acquire their heroin from New York, Boston, Chicago and even Canada. The majority of heroin is smuggled in via private automobiles.
Methamphetamine has not taken a foothold in Vermont yet. No large scale of methamphetamine seizures have has occurred in the state. However, a few clandestine laboratories have been discovered but because of the ban on precursor chemical, very little local methamphetamine is available. The increased vigilance by law enforcement has led to a complete eradication of these laboratories from the state.
The use of club drugs has remained steady over the past decade. These are the most frequent drugs of abuse among college students and are easily found at night clubs, raves and parties. MDMA (Ecstasy), Ketamine, Rohypnol, LSD, and GHB. GHB and MDMA are all easily available and have become the drugs of choice for young Caucasians at all economic levels. The majority of club drugs are smuggled in from Canada. The lucrative business is now being infiltrated by counterfeit pills. To date, no large scale of club drugs seizures has occurred in Vermont.
Marijuana is readily available in all areas of Vermont, and it is the drug of choice for abuse. The majority of marijuana is smuggled in from New York, Canada, Boston and Chicago. The smuggled marijuana is brought in by private vehicles with hidden compartments. Over the last decade an increasing amount of more potent marijuana is being smuggled in from Canada. Because of the long porous border between Vermont and Canada, marijuana is often carried in backpacks across remote areas between the ports of entry; tractor-trailers containing marijuana loads also transport the drug across the U.S. and Canada border.
Locally grown marijuana plots are also increasing all over the state. With a recent trend of growing marijuana indoors, detection of these marijuana plots has become very difficult.
The abuse of pharmaceutical drugs continues to rise at an exponential rate. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include oxycontin, hydrocodone and Xanax. These drugs are primarily obtained via prescription forgeries, “doctor shopping”, pharmacy break-ins and via the internet. Some of the pharmaceutical drugs are brought into Vermont from Mexico and Southwestern Border cities. Numerous pain management clinics have opened in every major city in the State and pose an enormous threat to the communities. These pain management clinics do injustice to patients by continually prescribing narcotics to addicts. Vermont has also seen an increase in the distribution and abuse of steroids. Steroids are usually obtained via the Internet and received via postal shipping services.
The increased drug trafficking and lucrative business has led to the development of various gangs, all vying to control the drug trade. Street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and other local groups have established footholds in the state which aid in the trafficking of illicit drugs. These groups rely upon their organizational strengths, violence and extortion. They are well aware of the lack of policing in the State and exploit the waterways and interstates in an effort to prosper in their illegal endeavors.
Associated with drug trafficking is money laundering. Cash-intensive businesses, such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs, shipping industry, casinos and tourism have all at some time been exposed to “drug” money. The legislature has endorsed laws to monitor all financial exchanges and banks are required by law to notify authorities of large transfer of money.
To counteract the drug problem DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams have been established in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. In addition, DEA Regional Enforcement Teams have been developed to augment existing DEA pision resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement.
The Vermont Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs provides alcohol treatment services and drug treatment services with contracted nonprofit agencies. According to ADAP, use of marijuana and hashish accounted for the majority of patients followed by morphine addicts.
The state legislation has passed a bill that allows patients to use medical marijuana if they have a debilitating medical condition and a state-issued registry condition.
In 1996, Vermont became one of the first states to pass an industrial hemp bill when it enacted a bill authorizing research into the feasibility of hemp as a commercial product. Four years later, the legislature passed a resolution urging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Congress to reconsider federal policies that prohibit the cultivation and sell of industrial hemp and related products.
In 2000, the legislature finally legalized methadone (Vermont had been one of only eight states in the U.S. with no methadone maintenance treatment for heroin addiction). State rules governing the distribution of methadone expired in the summer of 2004, and Vermont is now governed by the looser federal guidelines which have allowed for methadone clinics and allowing patient to take their methadone at home.