For the most part, the drug situation in the state of Wisconsin has been stable over the past decade. However, the drug trade is still on going and worse in the eastern part of the state. All illicit drugs are available in the state and include heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Marijuana remains the most widely abused drug in the state. With Illinois as a neighbor, there has been a steady influx of methamphetamine in to the state. Drug transportation is typically done via the vast array of interstates and US parcel postal services. On the streets of the inner cities, the drug trade is controlled by various street and motorcycle gangs. Associated with the drug trade has also been a major increase in gang related violence, crime, thefts and prostitution.
Cocaine and crack are widely available in Wisconsin. The majority of cocaine is smuggled into the state by Mexican drug organizations. The cocaine is smuggled in via automobiles, vans and campers. A significant amount of cocaine is smuggled in from Florida, New York, Boston, Detroit and Chicago. Once the cocaine is brought into the state, it is converted to crack cocaine and sold on the street. The street trade is controlled by a number of drug organizations. Recent seizures indicate that the cocaine is smuggled into large amounts and despite the diminished potency; the drug trade is still very lucrative.
Heroin abuse has in fact declined in the state of Wisconsin despite, the low price, more potency and easy availability. The heroin is chiefly smuggled in from Mexico but the Asian and Columbian variety is still available in the inner cities. The majority of the heroin drug trade is controlled by the Mexicans and Nigerians. At the street level, the sale of heroin is controlled by street and motorcycle gangs. Over the past decade, hospital data indicate that heroin addiction and related medical problems contribute to a significant number of emergency room admissions.
The use of methamphetamine continues to increase. Recent seizures indicate that a new generation of younger inpiduals and females are increasingly being addicted to this drug. The majority of methamphetamine is smuggled in from Chicago, New York, California and even Texas. The drug is smuggled in cars using secret hidden compartments. The US parcel service has also been utilized to smuggle the drug into the state.
The locally manufactured methamphetamine has diminished in recent years. Since the State banned the availability of ephedrine, most of the clandestine laboratories have closed. However, few sporadic laboratories do continue to operate using impure and toxic chemicals.
Club drugs have become popular among college students. The majority of colleges and universities in the state have been infiltrated with drug traffickers who sell club drugs. All types of club drugs are available including MDMA, GHB, LSD and Ketamine. The majority of the club drug trade is controlled by the Asian gangs. With increased law enforcement and monitoring, the use of club drugs has not been as high as that in other states. The club drugs are smuggled in from Chicago, New York, California and even Europe.
Marijuana remains the most readily available and widely used drug in Wisconsin. The majority of marijuana is smuggled in from the south and California. Because of the vast expanse of forest land, drug traffickers are increasingly using public and federal land to grow marijuana. Numerous farm seizures have occurred in the past decade, but the sophisticated indoor plots have been difficult to eradicate. Marijuana is also smuggled in from Canada.
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 Wisconsin from California, 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.
Having a close border with Canada has made Wisconsin very vulnerable to drug trafficking. Numerous drug traffickers operate in the Detroit green bay area and smuggling of BC Bud, methamphetamine and pharmaceutical drugs across into Wisconsin is frequent. Recent seizures indicate that the Canadian border has become popular for smuggling drugs into Wisconsin.
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 Chicago Field pision has combined with Wisconsin agencies to combat high purity heroin that had recently appeared in the Milwaukee area. The task force is comprised of representatives from DEA, the pision of Narcotics Enforcement (DNE), the Milwaukee Police Department and is funded through a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) grant.
The current Wisconsin fiscal crisis has increased the need for the State to find alternative methods for reducing expenditures. State budget surpluses are virtually non-existent and, in order to avoid deficit spending, the state has decided to limit incarceration of non-violent drug offenders.
In the state of Wisconsin, the fiscal crisis is particularly severe state prisons are extremely over capacity despite the fact that their Department of Corrections budget is one of the largest of all state agencies.
The State legislature has already focused on drug treatment programs rather than incarceration a program which has proven highly effective in reducing costs and prison populations in other states such as Maryland, Washington, and California. The Drug Policy Alliance is trying to pass a bill in the state that will Permit, and in some cases require, non-violent offenders charged with an offense related to the person’s use of drugs to be provided substance abuse treatment as an alternative to prosecution or incarceration. Authorize treatment in lieu of revocation of probation, parole, or extended supervision.
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