Drug And Alcohol Abuse Trends In Louisiana: Facts, Information and Statistics
Substance abuse is a decades-long problem in the United States, and new facets emerge every year. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) keeps Americans informed of emerging drug trends and alerts. Throughout the U.S., abuse of Fentanyl, Carfentanil, and false prescription drugs are on the rise. The drugs considered most dangerous throughout the country are not the same ones threatening the lives of individual states’ citizens. Each state must approach substance abuse treatment based on the illicit substances most often affecting its citizens.
Several substances pose significant threats in Louisiana. According to a 2015 report by a national addiction recovery center, cocaine is the most prevalent drug outside of New Orleans, while in New Orleans and its suburbs, heroin is much more common. An August 2016 report from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that together, heroin and Fentanyl pose the biggest threats of any illicit substances in New Orleans. Even the agents who conduct investigations or Fentanyl-related field tests are at risk of “overdosing” because contact with as little as 1 mL of Fentanyl can be lethal. Heroin, Fentanyl, and the opioids with which they are mixed are considered at epidemic levels in New Orleans.
DEA urges Louisiana residents to focus on more than New Orleans and heroin. “Heroin [gets] people’s attention … because more people are dying from it,” DEA spokeswoman Debbie Webber said when interviewed for the 2016 DEA report. For the rest of the state, cocaine is the largest drug threat. It is readily available in crack and powdered form, although crack cocaine is more prevalent. The ease with which an addict can make an injectable cocaine kit is disturbing because so many cocaine-related items are unregulated. This means that addicts don’t have to wait for a dealer or depend on over-the-counter drugs to obtain their fixes.
If the risk of cocaine addiction is frighteningly prevalent in Louisiana though, the risk of methamphetamine addiction is terrifying. Unlike cocaine’s ingredients, those used to make meth can be controlled; however, not every item is sufficiently regulated. Meth is affordable and available, especially on the streets where it is often difficult to trace. Recent data indicate meth is replacing marijuana as young adults’ drug of choice. Louisiana’s youth prefer meth to marijuana in part because it’s cheaper, and in part, because meth is less bulky and obviously identified. Meth can be easily transported to school, after school jobs, and other activities without being detected.
One of Louisiana’s biggest substance abuse issues is not the substances themselves, but how they get into the state. Interstate highway drug trafficking is extremely common, but Louisiana also possesses air and sea routes lucrative to drug traffickers. Law enforcement agencies, DEA mobile teams, and other officials who would stop drug trafficking often are stretched thin because Louisiana has so many access and egress points. Once a team gets a lead on a drug trafficker, it often loses the suspect due to the plethora of vehicles on the highways. Louisiana’s high volume of tourism, particularly in and around New Orleans, exacerbates this issue.
Shortfalls of Louisiana Substance Abuse Care
More than 28 million people visited the state in 2015, and $13.1 million was spent on arrivals and departures for Louisiana tourists that year, according to the Louisiana Office of Tourism. Together, domestic and international tourists spent $11.5 billion while, increasing Louisiana’s tourist revenue by 3 percent. With such high tourism volume, it is almost impossible for Louisiana law enforcement and substance abuse agencies to keep up with which substances may be entering or leaving the state. Oftentimes, drug cartels that cannot use over-road routes will transport their goods through small exiting flights, which are not carefully monitored.
Agencies also are stretched thin outside of tourist season. The most recent census estimate shows Louisiana has a population of more than 4.5 million. Of those, about 7 percent reported illicit drug use within the last 30 days of being surveyed, according to recent reports. Only a small percentage of addicted individuals sought treatment. Louisiana has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for use of several illicit drugs, including a number of mood-altering substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and certain prescription drugs. It is nearly impossible to cut off drug sources because Louisiana imports and exports drugs from so many other locations. Drugs are usually imported from Mexico, Colombia, and other Latin American nations, while they are exported to Texas, New York, and other large states with their own ever-growing substance-abuse cultures.
Another reason substance abuse remains prevalent in Louisiana is the lack of sobriety resources. Programs are in place to help people stay sober or recover from addiction once it has begun, though many such programs experienced funding cuts in the past several years. Public education initiatives help, but rampant drug delivery via highway often thwarts those efforts. With drugs like heroin and cocaine becoming more popular, more people are also continuing their addictions and potentially harmful behavior without detection.
Louisiana Residents Seek Out-Of-State Treatment
The Treatment Center is a perfect destination for clients around the country. Drugs are often shipped from Louisiana to Miami, so our experts are familiar with the addictive substances used by our clients from Louisiana.
Florida has many access and egress points for illicit substances (similar to Louisiana), including one of the world’s busiest ports in Miami. This has made The Treatment Center’s team well versed in what addiction to those substances looks like, how to treat it, and how to ensure complete and lasting recovery.
Florida is known as “The Recovery State” because of the success of our local programs in treating addiction and fostering recovery. For many addicts from Louisiana, treatment in Florida makes sense.
The Treatment Center Leads in Addiction Recovery
The Treatment Center has long been lauded for recovery excellence. Our Florida location, just two miles from the beach, offers a respite for guests struggling with substance addiction. Our success in healing addiction is credited to our holistic treatments that mend the mind, soul, and body. All of our treatments are evidence based and rooted in sound medical practice. With us, you are treated as a person, never just a number or a patient. We offer support for the addict and the family.