Arizona’s Drug Addiction

Arizona has a very present drug problem. Drugs are readily available in Arizona, primarily because most drugs are brought across the border from Mexico. In Arizona, there is a greater likelihood your child will experiment with drug usage. According to the Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base, Arizona holds the highest incidence rate for marijuana use at 8.9%, and the national average was 6.3%.

The United States Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center released a publication called “Arizona High Density Drug Trafficking Area – Drug Market Analysis 2011” (PDF). There are some disturbing facts inside that publication. For detailed information, please refer to that publication. For the purposes of this article, I will highlight surprising (or, not so surprising) facts about drugs in Arizona.

A “key issue” to the drug problem in Arizona is the fact Mexican cartels are increasing the already high-levels of marijuana and heroin which maintains the high availability of these drugs. In 2009 there were 105,000 marijuana shipment seizures. That number increased to 119,000 in 2010. Heroin also saw a huge increase of seizures with 190 in 2009 and 263 in 2010. Keep in mind, these are the ones who are getting caught. The Mexican border spans hundreds of miles, and the cartels are better funded than American law enforcement.

Drugs flowing into the United States by way of the Mexican border into Arizona brings crime along with it. In 2011, the drug which contributed the most to violent and property crimes was Ice Methamphetamine (aka Meth). It’s not at all surprising seeing how addictive meth is, creating a high demand of customers. Just take a drive through down town Phoenix and you will see plenty of meth customers walking the streets.

According to this report (PDF) by the Arizona Department of Health Services, the number of accidental drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arizona. The number of drug-related deaths as a result of accidental poisoning has increased each year beginning in 2003, to the latest reporting period in 2009. The statistics include both legal and illegal drugs. Between 1999 and 2009, there were a total of 1,101 accidental drug overdose deaths. Keep in mind, this report is three years old and as the population increases here, so do its problems.

Every state has its own drug problems, but Arizona is unique. We border a country where the Mexican cartels are providing a heavy stream of drugs into the United States. Arizona is a popular gateway for the Mexican cartels to distribute their product throughout our country. Marijuana, meth, heroin and cocaine are readily available on the streets and there are no shortages of customers. Since living in Arizona, I’ve seen good people get on drugs and become different people. They steal from their families to support their habits, lie and often get arrested. It’s very sad, but you can spot a “tweaker” just walking around on any city street.

Looking at the photograph at the beginning of this article, that is a meth user. The first photo was taken in March 1981, and the last photo was taken in January 1989. In eight short years, this woman aged 40 years and is most likely deceased at this point. Here are more meth users:

Heroin, anyone?

How about some cocaine?

Have you ever heard of “meth mouth”?

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