Over the last 2 decades the drug situation in Connecticut has worsened and both heroin and crack cocaine have become significant problems in the State. Once renowned as a State with minimal drug problem, Connecticut has now become a major transit zone of illicit drug transfer from New York to the East coast because of Interstates 95 and 91, which link most of the North Eastern USA and Northern Canada. These interstates (also known as the New England Pipeline) intersect in New Haven and are considered a major route of drug transfer.
The major drug of abuse in Connecticut is cocaine, but heroin abuse is not far behind. The majority of users use crack cocaine because of its ready availability and cheaper price. The majority of cocaine entering Connecticut is from Columbia but at the local level, the drug is distributed by Mexican and Dominican organizations. The majority of cocaine arrives from New York City and then is spread across the North East by the same drug cartels.
Heroin rivals cocaine in use because of its easy accessibility, low price and more potency. Heroin abuse is a major epidemic in urban Connecticut. Even though the drug originates from Columbia, it is widely spread at the local level by Mexican and Dominican drug traffickers. Like cocaine, heroin is transported from New York City. The major route of transfer is via automobiles with the drugs hidden in various compartments.
Like everywhere else in North America, methamphetamine abuse is on the rise and methamphetamine laboratories have been discovered in Connecticut. The majority of methamphetamine abusers are teenagers and young adults who frequent rave parties.
Another class of drug which has been on the rise is Club drugs, the majority of which arrive from New York City. MDMA has become one of the most prevalent controlled substances encountered by law enforcement. It has become a popular drug of choice among college and high school students. The club drugs are commonly available at nightclubs, primarily in the urban areas and on college campuses. Because of the low price ($20-30 per tablet), these club drugs are commonly used at all night parties.
Marijuana is widely available in Connecticut. The majority of the commercial grade marijuana available in Connecticut comes from either Mexico or the Southwest U.S. The bulk of shipment to the State is via Courier services using various types of cargo services. Recently home grown marijuana plants have become widespread in the New Haven. These home laboratories are sophisticated and expertly wired to avoid high-electricity usage detection by utility companies. These illicit laboratories are a part of small clandestine operations growing and selling marijuana for both local and national use. Home grown marijuana is more potent and sells for as high as $4-5000 per pound.
Like everywhere in the US, illicit use of pharmaceutical drugs like oxycodone, oxycontin, benzodiazepines continues to be a major problem in Connecticut. Ritalin, Xanax and Diazepam are among the most frequently abused perted pharmaceuticals. These drugs are frequently obtained using forged prescriptions, employee theft, “doctor shopping” and online shopping.
Recently there has been an increase in the use of PCP in Connecticut. The PCP is frequently transported from Southern USA with the use of couriers. The PCP is either taken orally or smoked.
DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams
To counter the drug problem in the State, DEA Mobile Enforcement teams have been established. The major function of these state and local enforcement agencies is to curb the violence associated with drugs and control the spread. Together with the DEA, Regional Enforcement teams are targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. This Program has helped identify and shut down numerous drug networks and control drug trafficking
State Drug, Alcohol Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs
Like California, Connecticut has now established Drug courts and drug treatment centers to allow for drug rehabilitation of drug addicts. The state run agencies have both in-patient and outpatient drug treatment programs. The Connecticut legislature has been working on issues ranging from methadone maintenance to prison reform to medical marijuana. The use of marijuana for medical reasons is currently being introduced in the State legislature. The bill will allow doctors to provide certificates to qualifying patients who they believe would benefit from the medical use of marijuana. The patient or designated caregiver would then be allowed to grow up to five plants in a secured place in their own home. The patient would have to register with the Connecticut Department of Public Health after their doctor recommended marijuana for use.
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