Heroin ‘Widely Available”, what exactly does that mean?
We have talked a lot about Heroin in other articles and what effect Heroin has on our society. We know Heroin is an opiate and is synthesized from morphine. We also know that Heroin is extremely addictive and in so many cases, deadly.
When reading articles on this drug, I keep hearing that it’s ‘widely available’ and I have a hard time understanding that. We want to keep or adolescents, young adults and older adults safe, so we have to understand where it’s coming from in the first place.
The availability of Heroin is easy to find in many United States drug markets. Some areas of the U.S. are increasing in availability more than others. The reason this can be calculated and tracked is looked at in this way:
- High wholesale purity
- Low prices
- Increased levels of abuse
- The elevated numbers of heroin related overdoses and the overdose deaths
Some of the areas Law Enforcement’s are estimating an increase in the availability of Heroin are:
- The Great Lakes
- Mid Atlantic
- New England
- New York
- New Jersey
- West Central
All These areas are OCDETF Regions. Heroin abuse is increasing among the young users especially.
What does OCDETF mean?
This is a program that was established in 1982 and its purpose is to conduct comprehensive or extensive multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. OCDETF stands for ‘Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces’. Their job is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and anyone responsible for the nation’s drug supply. Within this program, there is an OFC which is a Fusion Center, they gather, store and analyze all drug sources and any related financial investigative information received.
OK I’m listening, but where are Heroin and other illegal drugs coming from and how are they getting here?
The illegal drug market in the United States is one of the most profitable in the world. Because of this, it attracts Drug Traffickers. The type of trafficker’s this appeals to are the ones that are the most ruthless, sophisticated, and aggressive.
Very perse groups traffic in and distribute illegal drugs. The reason Heroin is so available in the United States is because criminals in four foreign source areas produce this drug. The areas are South America (Colombia), Southeast Asia (mostly Burma), Mexico, and Southwest Asia and Middle East (mostly Afghanistan).
Over the past decade, the U.S. noticed a major shift in the heroin market from the domination of Southeast Asian heroin to South American heroin especially in the East. In the west, the form of brown powdered heroin coming from Mexico has been and continues to be predominantly available.
Sadly, increased availability of high-pure heroin that can be snorted is attracting new users and younger people. They are also ingesting larger quantities of heroin so this is contributing to the increase in users becoming addicted and dependent on Heroin.
Now, on to how they are getting here
Mexican heroin has been a threat to the United States for many decades. It is produced, smuggled, and distributed by poly-drug trafficking groups. I know, what are poly-drug trafficking groups? These groups are responsible for the cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs. Some of these groups have been operating for 20 years or more. Almost the entire amount of heroin produced in Mexico is destined for distribution in the United States. Mexican organized crime groups produce, smuggle and distribute the black tar heroin that’s sold in the western United States.
Generally, trafficking groups that operate from Mexico avoid problems by smuggling heroin to the U.S. market as they receive orders from their customers. They do this by keeping the quantities small hoping to minimize the risk of them losing a huge quantity of heroin in a single seizure (capture). Even the large poly-drug Mexican organizations that smuggle multi-ton quantities of cocaine and marijuana for the most part, limit the smuggling of Mexican heroin into the United States to kilogram and smaller amounts.
Illegal immigrants and migrant workers often smuggle heroin across the United States-Mexico border in 1 to 3 kilogram amounts for some of the major trafficking groups, seizures from authority’s show that larger loads are being moved across the border. This is done mostly in privately owned vehicles.
Now once the heroin reaches the U.S., the traffickers depend on what they consider professional poly-drug smugglers and distribution networks to deliver their heroin to the market primarily in the metropolitan areas of the mid-western, south-western, and western United States with very large Mexican immigrant populations.
Are Mexican traffickers the only organizations we need to worry about?
Southeast Asian (SEA) high-purity heroin use to dominate the market in the United States in the late 1980’s and early 1991’s but, has dramatically decreased since then.
West African traffickers usually smuggled SEA high-purity heroin into the United States in the 1990’s also. Now they deal in SWA heroin that’s coming from Southwest Asia.
A very large seizure of Southwest Asian heroin happened in New York City in September 2001. Officers of the city police department confiscated about 50 kilograms of this drug. The Federal-wide Drug Seizure System said that at that time, it was the largest seizure of powdered heroin in the past five years.
August 2010, police in South Carolina County said that they made the largest seizure of heroin in the county’s history. The Horry County police department said that detectives along with agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency capped a yearlong investigation into a drug trafficking operation. They seized eight kilograms of black tar heroin, 1 ½ kilograms of powder heroin and half a kilogram of cocaine. The estimated combined value of the drugs seized is more than $12 million.
So yes, there are other organizations taking a part in smuggling heroin into the United States but Mexican traffickers seem to have monopolized the market.
Well, now we know how Heroin and other illegal drugs get here. I also realize that efforts are made every day to crack down on the drug activity and trafficking throughout the United States. We have to do our part now in helping our adolescents and young people stay safe from the highly addictive and available illegal drugs like heroin. We need to start off by helping those that are already addicted to heroin and other drugs so that someday drugs may be ‘widely available’ but a whole lot less sought after.
If you or someone you love and care about needs help with Heroin Addiction or any other addiction call 1-800-559-9503. We can also answer your questions concerning Drug Counseling, Drug Detoxification Facilities, Drug Treatment Centers, Drug Rehabilitation and Drug Intervention. No question is too small, big or insignificant when it comes to You, Family, Friends and Loved Ones!
Websites used in article
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
U.S. Department of Justice Assessment 2010
DEA Fact Sheet
The State South Carolina’s Homepage http://www.thestate.com/2010/08/11/1413941/authorities-in-sc-report-record.html