How Mexican Drug Cartels Affect Texas

According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration reports, Mexican drug cartels are responsible for the majority of drugs smuggled into the country. The far-reaching influence of these well-organized crime groups that ascertain their dominance through fear and violence continues to be astounding.

While Mexican cartels have major influence across the country, the most affected state has been Texas.

Why is Texas a prime spot for drug trafficking?

Texas has for decades been a hot spot for most Mexican drug cartels as the state shares 1254 miles of border with Mexico. This has been made worse as most of the state, especially the South Texas HIDTA region, primarily consists of thousands of acres of unoccupied land.

The presence of the Gulf of Mexico further escalates the problem as the huge water body enables drug traffickers to use small boats, narco submarines, and pleasure crafts for their illegal trade.

What about the border fence and patrols?

Is it possible to have a United States-Mexico border that covers every inch between these countries?

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Well, that is a question that still demands a lot of research and billions of dollars in investment. Texas has particularly proven to be extremely challenging to fence as it has huge stretches of land that do not have physical barriers.

The flat desert areas and floodplains also present another challenge, making an end-to-end border fence an idea whose implementation depends on many geographical, economic, and legal aspects. However, recently in a bold move, Texas Governor Greg Abbott unveiled border wall plans as a part of his security action to keep Texans and Americans safer.

On a brighter side, part of the border fence built in strategic areas has helped Border Patrol and law enforcement increase surveillance and capture hundreds of cartel members. But, this has not deterred Mexican drug cartels from coming up with new ways of drug trafficking that allow them to move around, under, or through these barriers.

The growing impacts of drug trade on Texas

The Mexican drug cartel has proven to be the mythical hydra that replaces each head cut by two others. In 2014, after the capture of Joaquin Guzman, popularly known as El Chapo, who was a high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa cartel, it was expected that drug activities would sharply decline.

However, it seems that capturing drug lords is not a long-term solution to breaking down the empires worth hundreds of millions of dollars. With access to so much money, it is always a matter of time before new leaders emerge or new groups are formed.

For example, after El Chapo was extradited to the USA and his cartel operations were greatly affected by the arrests of many cartel members; breakaway members formed a new group. This group is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel that has rapidly grown and is currently attributed to more than 30% of the drugs in the United States.

Since Texas is the epicenter of drug trafficking to the USA, it has not been spared from the wrath of this illegal trade. Law enforcement is now paying more attention to the impacts of Mexican cartels operation in Texas as it is a problem that can no longer be ignored.

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The major and pressing problems linked to the influence and operations of Mexican cartels in Texas are:

One of the biggest concerns today is how Mexican drug cartel members use young people, especially teenagers, for drug trafficking. After crossing the Mexican border, these cartels need a way to ensure the passage of drugs discreetly. The perfect bait has been found, and these are young and innocent children who are given an opportunity to make easy money.

It is heartbreaking that teenagers as young as 12 have pleaded guilty to helping cartel members to smuggle drugs, like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine into the United States. This trend is expected to grow as cartels are now targeting young people using social media, making it harder to control the number of smugglers who could be recruited.

One of the long-term impacts of the drug trade is that it leads to a rise in human and sex trafficking. Texas has not been spared from these illegal activities as Mexican cartels are busy moving people and drugs into the country.

Border communities have been most affected by these activities as they often come face to face with the violent and daring gatekeepers facilitating cross-border smuggling.

There is never a peaceful drug trade as each cartel always aims for supremacy on valuable trade routes and markets. The drug war in Mexico is facilitated by the high number of weapons acquired from the United States and the many local gangs facilitating drug sales.

These local gangs have proven to be quite crafty as they now sell narcotics as prescription drugs or magic mushrooms. Unfortunately, this is a gaping hole that many young people have fallen into, leading to a severe public health pandemic. Yearly, the statistics worsen as more people overdose on these drugs and suffer from a heart attack while countless more become addicts.

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Every month millions of dollars are smuggled back into Mexico as proceeds from the drug trade. In turn, money launderers in Texas and across the nation have become an integral part of cartel operations as they ease money flow. This has become such a big concern as, on the one hand, it hurts the local economy, and on the other hand, it makes Mexican cartels stronger.

On a national level, this has necessitated the attorney general and U.S law enforcement agencies to collaborate with Mexico in the fight against drug cartels. However, despite the massive strides that have been made, especially in the seizure of laundered money and property, Mexican cartels still stick out like a sore thumb.

Stay safe in Texas

The overreaching impacts of the Mexican drug cartels in Texas call for great public awareness on the devastating impacts of drugs. At a personal level, it also mandates great self-control to avoid falling victim to the alluring lifestyle that cartels use to recruit more local members.

Luckily, you are not alone, as More Than Rehab is here to help you avoid becoming entrapped in substance abuse or aiding these cartels in drug smuggling or money laundering. In the end, the easy money and flashy lifestyle that cartels portray is short-lived and will cause more pain than good. If you are in immediate danger or need help, call 911. If you need a safe rehab to get clean, call us.

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What Drugs Cause Scabs or Lesions on the Skin?

Are you concerned that a loved one may be abusing drugs because you have seen what appear to be lesions or scabs on the skin? These types of skin sores just never really seem to go away, or sometimes they even seem to get worse. Unfortunately, with drug and alcohol abuse, scabs and lesions on the skin can be quite common.

Sometimes this is a telltale sign that they are in fact struggling with a substance abuse disorder, especially if it is combined with other out of the ordinary or uncharacteristic behaviors. Scabs or lesions on the skin related to drug use are often caused by a number of factors depending on the different drugs being abused. Several drugs can cause these skin lesions, sores, or scabs. Let’s look at the most common drugs that cause visible skin problems for the addict.

Methamphetamines

Meth, crystal meth, or methamphetamine is perhaps the most well-known drug on the list for causing some very serious issues with the skin. Also commonly referred to as meth sores, the open sores caused from regular meth use are often the result of a number of different psychological and physical side effects that come from regularly using this highly dangerous drug.

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Poor personal hygiene, sweating out toxins, a weakened immune system, and compulsive skin picking usually caused by “meth mites” (common hallucinations about insects or bugs that are either crawling on or in the skin) are all great examples of how using meth causes skin lesions or scabs. Using meth also constricts the blood vessels, which leads to the skin healing at a much slower pace. Meth sores can appear anywhere on the body, even inside of the mouth, a condition also known as meth mouth.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that has been known to cause lesions or scabs on the skin, typically depending on how the drug was ingested, like being snorted, injected, or smoked. Here are some of the most common skin related issues from regular cocaine or crack usage:

These are just a few of the most common skin reactions that can occur with cocaine use. Much like other drugs, cocaine is highly toxic and it is often cut, or combined with other dangerous and harmful chemicals.

Heroin

Other drugs that have been known to cause lesions, skin sores, or scabs are heroin, black tar heroin, or other types of opioid substances. All of these drugs are highly dangerous and addictive. Like many other dangerous and harmful substances, opiates cause health issues that are not just related to the skin. However, the most commonly seen effects of heroin on the skin are from users who inject the drug on a regular or somewhat regular basis.

The repeated penetration of the skin while seeking a vein can cause a condition known as venous sclerosis. Venous Sclerosis can lead to permanent scarring, something also known as “track marks”. It can also cause a range of other issues, such as skin infections, cellulitis (a potentially life threatening bacterial skin infection), and skin abscesses. Skin abscesses are commonly seen on people who inject heroin regularly, and, like cellulitis, it can become very serious if left untreated.

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Another cause for concern among heroin users is the process often referred to on the streets as “skin popping”. This is where the drug is directly injected under the skin, or subcutaneously, and sometimes even intramuscularly, instead of into the vein itself. Necrotizing skin lesions commonly occur with this popular practice as finding a vein becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, heroin users are also prone to obsessively picking at their skin, causing the chance of infection to become even greater. As with many others who suffer from addiction, heroin users often stop caring about their personal hygiene. All of these factors combined make the chance of having skin lesions and scabs much higher when using this drug.

Prescription Drugs

Additionally, some prescription medicines, especially when abused, are known to cause skin lesions or rashes. For example, prescription stimulants, like those commonly prescribed for ADD/ADHD, can cause hives, rashes, and hypersensitivity. In most cases, these reactions are considered to be allergic, so not everyone will experience these types of side effects. Other symptoms often associated with an allergic reaction to prescription stimulants are fluid filled pustules that can rupture and scab over, burning, blistering, and peeling. If you have recently taken any prescription stimulants and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out to a medical health professional and get help as soon as possible before the condition worsens.

While these drugs can cause scabs or lesions on the skin, there are plenty of other health risks associated with addiction.

All of these symptoms are potentially very dangerous, so it is always suggested you seek medical care in order to get the help you need. No drug is worth the permanent damage that may be caused to your body or mind from prolonged and consistent drug use. Drug abuse is the cause of a number of other, very serious health risks.

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If you are wanting to get sober but are worried about the detox, then we are here to help. Here At More Than Rehab, we know just how difficult that getting sober can be, as many of us have been there before, and all we want to do is help to make that process easier.

We believe that everybody deserves the chance to have a healthy, sober, and fulfilling life, so we have many different types of treatment programs that are designed to fit your needs. We truly care about the health and well-being of both you and your family. Call us any time of day, 24/7, 365 days of the year and we will be here to answer your call. We would like nothing more than to give you the tools for recovery and put you on the right path!

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Hygiene and Drug Use: Why Does Use Cause a Lack of Care?

For many of us, maintaining our image is a matter of importance, at least to some degree. The power of first impressions have a huge impact in our modern world. Because of this, cleanliness and personal hygiene are often taught to us early on as children. The majority of people shower on a regular basis, brush their teeth every day, wear clean clothes, and keep a tidy house. Although it is true that hygiene habits may look somewhat different, especially depending on the person, in large part, many of us take some sort of pride in our appearance. Unfortunately, substance abuse has been known to change personal hygiene habits for people who have become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

A lack of care for personal hygiene and outward appearance can be a sign of drug use.

One of the most common physical signs or symptoms that someone may be struggling from a substance abuse problem is the deterioration in one's appearance. If you have ever struggled with an addiction, or have known someone that has, you may be aware that addiction is often defined as an inability to stop using drugs or alcohol, even despite harmful consequences, and that it is caused by chemical changes to the brain. If you know someone who has recently stopped caring about their appearance, along with other concerning behavioral or physical symptoms, it may be time to reach out for help. We have many experienced professionals ready to answer any questions you might have if you suspect a loved one of needing help.

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Call us today for help with your drug or alcohol addiction. We offer the best evidence-based treatment program in the Houston, Texas area.

Why does an addiction to drugs or alcohol have such an impact on personal hygiene?

Some may wonder why many addicts seem to be affected in such a way that they stop caring about their appearance and personal hygiene? If you stopped and asked an addict on the street, I’m sure that many of their answers would be the same. Many just stop caring, their addiction takes first priority, and is often their only priority. They spend most of their time too high to take care of themselves and the rest of the time they spend trying to get more drugs and resupplying their stash.

For others, they barely even notice that they haven’t showered or brushed their teeth for days, or that the clothes they are wearing smell of vomit, or they simply haven't changed their clothes in who knows how long. Some might even tell you that they are afraid that getting in the shower will ruin their high, so they avoid doing it for days on end.

One thing is for certain though, considering all the different reasons why many addicts either chose to neglect, or give up on, their personal appearance, it is no surprise that this can have significant consequences to an addict. Combine this with poor nutrition and an improper diet, along with the toxic chemicals often found in drugs, you have a deadly recipe for a lack of hygiene and poor outward appearance. The disease of addiction is very destructive and this has been shown time and time again.

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Drug or alcohol addiction can cause significant changes to things like your skin, your teeth, your weight, the way you smell, and even your hair.

Perhaps one of the first noticeable changes that occur when an addict stops caring about their appearance is what happens to the skin. Neglect, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, and dehydration are all associated with substance abuse and can have negative impacts on the skin. Common symptoms of substance-related skin issues include:

These common effects to the skin are why many addicts, or those in early recovery from addiction can appear to be much older than they actually are.

The negative effects of addiction on oral hygiene.

Another common consequence of poor hygiene, toxic chemicals from drug use, and poor nutrition is the tooth loss that many addicts experience. Although how heavily impacted your smile may be can differ greatly, depending on the drug of choice, all of these substances have a chance to steal it. For example:

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Substance abuse can also greatly affect your hair.

Improper hygiene and poor nutrition can lead to a lack of shine, brittle hair, and inadequate new hair growth. Certain drugs can also cause temporary hair loss. Throwing in a poor diet and bad hygiene practices only accelerates this process. For others, the lack of care for their hair appears as developing huge, dreadlocked knots, as they forget to, or are unwilling to brush it. Some recovering addicts report going so far as to shave their own head instead of dealing with chunks of hair falling out or having to brush it.

Sudden or extreme weight-loss can be a sign of a substance use disorder.

Along with changes to your hair, skin, and teeth is extreme weight loss. When your only concern is how you are going to get your next high, eating becomes way less important. Many addicts will also forgo buying food even if they are hungry in order to get more drugs. Certain drugs also reduce or eliminate hunger, acting as an appetite suppressant. Oftentimes, cocaine or methamphetamine users will go days, or sometimes even weeks without eating food.

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It can be very sad when we see a loved one who is putting off their appearance, or is not taking care of themselves, because of drug abuse or drug addiction. If you, or a loved one, need help getting back on the road to a healthy, sober life, then we are here to help! We can answer any questions you may have about the recovery process and would love to teach you the tools to get back on the road to loving yourself again!

If you, or a loved one is experiencing an addiction to drugs or alcohol and you need help, call us today! We are open 24/7.

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How Do Drug Cartels Affect Drug Flow Into The US?

Mexican transnational organized crime groups, often referred to as cartels, have spent several decades establishing intricate, complex routes and connections to smuggle illegal drugs across the United States and Mexico border. Border Patrol, and other governing agencies such as the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), have been waging war against these drug trafficking organizations for as long as these cartels have been in operation.

The problem with these cartels is that even when one drug smuggling avenue or connection is shut down, they quickly find a new way to continue bringing these illegal, harmful substances across the American-Mexican border. So much so that a new wall has been approved by the US government in hopes to decrease illegal immigration and drug smuggling efforts. While this is a major problem for many states such as New Mexico and California, Texas is another state that is primarily affected by the operation of these Mexican drug cartels.

The History of Drug Cartels Influence in the United States

The Mexican drug war began in 2007 and was led by the American government. Mexican officials made an effort to decrease drug-related violence in association with the drug flow into the United States. Although Mexican drug cartels have been around for a while, their influence only grew in size with the demise of Columbian Cali and Medellin cartels in the 1990’s. Since then, it has been estimated that these Mexican drug cartels are responsible for more than 90% of the cocaine that is currently being smuggled into the United States.

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How Texas is Affected by the Influence of Mexican Drug Cartels

Unfortunately, Texas has become a primary hotspot for Mexican cartels to smuggle these drugs across the border. South Texas has become the primary point of entry for cocaine that is being smuggled across the Mexican border into the United States. More cocaine and heroin have been seized in Texas than any other state along the Mexican border (Arizona, California, and New Mexico).

Significant amounts of methamphetamine have also been seized in the Texas area, consistently topping the charts in comparison to other border states. Texas has what is known as the South Texas HIDTA region, this stands for high intensity drug trafficking area. Texas and Mexico share 1254 miles of common border, and there are at least 28 different ways to cross the border between them; including bridges, border crossings, and other crossings that allow personal or commercial travel between them.

The border of South Texas begins in the Western portion of Val Verde County and extends to both Willacy and Cameron counties along the Gulf of Mexico. This area of Texas is largely populated in three areas; the Del Rio or Eagle Pass, Laredo, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The rest of the South Texas HIDTA region remains largely unpopulated with big stretches of rural or uninhabited land. Drug cartels take advantage of this widespread and massive area to smuggle drugs across the Texas and Mexican border. Interestingly enough, Texas shares the title for the state with the highest rates of drug seizure, coming in alongside Arizona with a total of over 7 million pounds of illegal drugs being seized between a recent four year span.

It is not uncommon for these pieces of land to also serve as a sort of temporary storage facility for drug shipments before sending them to larger cities and towns within the border area. They use places like ranches, local residences, or warehouses and trailers to conceal these illegal substances before sending them off to different parts of the country.

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San Antonio, Texas serves as one of the largest Mexican cartel transnational shipment centers, shipping a wide variety of illicit drugs, such as; heroin, marijuana, and crystal meth. To transport these drugs, Mexican cartels often exploit the transportation infrastructure that is already in place for transporting legal goods across the border, as Texas has become Mexico's number one trading partner. Mexican drug cartels also use things like personal vehicles and tractor trailers as well as commercial vehicles.

Located in the South Texas HIDTA region is an area commonly referred to as the Nuevo Laredo Plaza. This has become the most lucrative drug smuggling corridor along the Mexican and Texas border. It is located directly across the Rio Grande River from Laredo at the Laredo Point of Entry. The Laredo Point of Entry has become the busiest commercial Point of Entry in North America; as a result, it has been the focal point for many violent conflicts between competing Mexican drug cartels. This has become a centralized location where they are able to take advantage of the existing transportation to smuggle drugs across the border.  Additionally, over 55% of all rail traffic from Mexico to the US enter the United States through Laredo.

Human Trafficking is Commonly Associated With Drug Smuggling

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Another way that these Mexican drug cartels are able to smuggle drugs across the border is through the horrendous act of human trafficking. It is estimated that out of all the foreigners being trafficked into the country, more than a quarter, or one fourth, of them enter the country through the Mexican border. Many of these people are forced, or coerced, into smuggling drugs into the United States by violent Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Sadly, nearly one third of all the calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline are made from inside the state of Texas.

The war on drugs has been occurring for decades and these Mexican cartels are constantly finding new ways to complete their illegal activities. Despite the efforts of law enforcement they have been able to thrive, but there may be a solution in sight. We hope that with continued efforts we will finally be able to get a better handle on the drug trade occurring in Texas along the Mexican border.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please do not hesitate to reach out to the proper authorities. There is always someone who will understand your situation and someone who will be willing to help! Help is only a phone call away.

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Colleges and Drugs: What are the Popular Drugs to Look Out for in 2020?

For those who have been lucky enough to attend college, they know that it can be a very exciting experience. For some, the experience is mainly focused around the academic aspect and the desire to further their education. For others, while academia may still be a factor, the experience is more about what college itself has to offer; individual freedom, and the chance to make decisions without constant parental guidance, the opportunity to expand one’s social circle, and it is often a setting where experimentation with drugs or alcohol is common for a variety of different reasons, either for fun, to celebrate, for social reasons, or perhaps even to deal with the stress. Whatever the reason may be, it is no secret that for the majority of college students, college experience tends to be a place for experimentation, especially when it comes to alcohol and drugs.

What kinds of drugs do college students typically use on Texas campuses?

A recent study found that nearly 23 percent of college students reported using an illicit drug sometime within the past 30 days and more than 75 percent say it is very easy to buy drugs on campus. While this has always been an issue, it may be of even more concern today. In the year of 2020, as the coronavirus, the pandemic  also commonly known as covid-19, has caused a shift in the way college campuses are currently being operated. With classes being shut down and having been moved to only online, students are finding themselves with more free time than ever. However, it is unclear how this may impact data as far as drug use among college students is concerned, but young adults will likely continue to seek-out and use drugs.

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Here are some of the most popular drugs on college campuses to look out for in the United States during the year of 2020:

Alcohol

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that alcohol is the substance that most people abuse in college, with 4 out of 5 college students drinking alcohol. To make matters worse, the majority of the college population are between the ages of 18 to 22, where 21 is the legal drinking age. More so, around half of the college students who drink also participate in binge drinking, which is where they consume four or more alcoholic beverages per hour.

Cocaine

Although the use of cocaine peaked around the mid 1980’s, it is still commonly found on college campuses. Cocaine is a highly addictive and illegal stimulant. College students reportedly use the drug at parties and clubs. While it is sometimes used by itself, the majority of college students say they combine it with other drugs like alcohol and marijuana at social gatherings. One study showed that 69 percent of users reported abusing the drug after entry into college.

Adderall and Ritalin

Adderall and Ritalin are both prescription medications often used for the treatment of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). They have become the “study drug” of choice as both are known to have stimulating properties. College students are twice as likely to abuse prescription stimulants due to related workload stress. According to the 2017 results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 60% of young adults used prescription stimulants obtained from friends for non-medical purposes.

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Marijuana or Synthetic Marijuana

Some other commonly abused drugs by college students are marijuana and synthetic marijuana. Many students report using these substances in order to relieve the stress associated with college life. It is often abused at parties or other social events. It is estimated that nearly 38 percent of college students use marijuana, according to Monitoring the Future, a survey that is used to measure adolescent drug and alcohol activity. Synthetic marijuana is also a commonly used substance among college students who want to achieve the same effects as marijuana without the legal risk, as synthetic marijuana strains are made in order to circumvent detection from law enforcement agencies.

 

Xanax & Benzodiazepines

Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety. Since it is widely prescribed and widely used, it has become easily obtainable through illicit channels. College students are more likely to abuse anti-anxiety medications to deal with stress from college life. It is also commonly combined with other substances such as alcohol, or barbiturates and has been known to cause blackouts, leading to its us as a date-rape drug on college campuses as well.

 

Psychedelics

Psychedelics, such as mushrooms, LSD, or acid, are another group of substances that are commonly abused by people attending college. Psychedelics are hallucinogens, and can cause extreme hallucinations, leading people to lose their sense of reality. The effects of psychedelics are often unpredictable, and can last anywhere from 2-48 hours. This combination can cause people to act erratically, resulting in things like paranoia and psychosis. Use among college students is popular as the report trying to escape from their everyday life, which can oftentimes be stressful.

 

Ecstasy

Along with the rise of raves and EDM culture, is the use of ecstasy, or “molly” among college kids. In part due to the increased popularity of the rave culture is the increased use of ecstasy, or other MDMA related drugs, among college students. Many report using the drug where alcohol is common, such as at parties, bars, festivals, and raves. The euphoric feeling often associated with the substance is what leads students to using it in social settings. However, it can result in things like paranoia, dehydration, and it can even turn fatal in certain situations.

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Drug use among college students is not a new problem.

These are just a few of the most commonly abused drugs by college students in Texas. Due to things like social experimentation, peer pressure, stress and childhood trauma, many college students turn to drugs or alcohol. If you or someone you know may be struggling with a substance use disorder, please do not hesitate to reach out for help! Many have been where you are before and they have gotten the help necessary to get back on track. College is a very rewarding experience, but we also know that it can be very stressful. There is no shame in asking for help! Call us anytime. We are here to help you.

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Nootropics: A Dangerous New Addiction

Alcohol and addictive substances, such as heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine, have long been a problem here in the United States. A new class of drug, termed: nootropics is adding to those problems. Today, it is estimated that nearly 21 million Americans struggle with a substance abuse problem of some kind. A person struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs was once considered to lack moral fortitude, but now, with a deeper understanding of addiction, doctors and scientists alike now profile addiction as a disease of the brain. Addiction literally causes changes to the functioning of an addicts brain, and sometimes these changes are even permanent.

An addiction to drugs or alcohol means when a person is unable to stop using these mind altering substances even though they usually have experienced some extreme, and often negative, consequences because of their substance abuse problem. This could be anything like going to jail, losing a job, spending all their time and money drinking alcohol or using drugs, not seeing their family, living on the streets, etc. The problem with addiction is that oftentimes it is really hard to stop abusing these substances without the help of a professional or some other type of interference, such as an overdose or a rock bottom experience.

While the use of alcohol and illegal illicit drugs, like marijuana or crack cocaine, have all been around for some time now, there is now a newer category of drugs that have been slowly sweeping across the nation. Unfortunately, not all commonly abused substances are illegal. Like alcohol, things like prescription drugs and over the counter medications are also commonly abused by members of the population. This new class of drugs are referred to as “nootropics”, which can literally be translated from the Greek words meaning mind and bending.

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"Smart drugs" or "cognitive enhancers" are substances that people take to improve an area of brain function.

Nootropics can be illegal substances, prescription drugs, and even over the counter medications. Nootropics are drugs used to improve cognitive brain functions, such as:

The first nootropic was discovered by Romanian scientist Corneliu Giurgea in the 1960s. Named Piracetam, the drug was first intended to lull patients into a gentle slumber, but they quickly realized it had the opposite effects. Patients also reported that it let to substantial improvement to their memories. While the drug is not approved by the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration), it is a prescription drug available in the UK and it is still widely used by students and young professionals alike, despite there being any scientific evidence to support their claims of cognitive improvement.

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According to a study that was recently conducted, there is evidence to suggest that nearly 30% of people living in the United States have used a nootropic at least once in the past year. If you have ever seen the movie “Limitless”, a movie that was produced in 2011 where the main character was introduced to a nootropic drug called NZT-48, then you may be familiar with the phenomena of this newly spreading craze. During the movie, NZT-48 allows him to access and fully utilize all areas of his brain, leading to substantial improvement in his life and career, but by the end of the movie it is clear that the drug also has very harmful side-effects, including dependence and addiction.

Nootropics can be very addictive.

It is true that not all nootropic drugs are considered to be dangerous, but there are still those who have very serious side effects. Part of what makes these drugs so compelling is that they are usually medically prescribed or available for purchase over the counter, so people associate them with having less risk. Another component that increases the danger level of these drugs is what is known as increased tolerance, sometimes the user needs more and more to achieve the desired effect, this can cause them to use more of the same drug, or turn to other more harmful drugs instead. Some of the most dangerous and addictive nootropic drugs are listed as follows;

It is important to note that none of these drugs have ever been shown to increase cognitive abilities, and they have had the most positive impact on someone who already had cognitive impairment problems to begin with.

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However, as I mentioned earlier there are some natural substances known to have nootropic effects with little to no side effects. So, if you must, and you are feeling like you may need a little cognitive enhancement, try drinking the age old cup of coffee for that natural boost. Caffeine has been shown to have a positive effect with a low risk of dependence. Other over the counter substances like L-theanine or ginkgo biloba have also had positive effects reported by users, and they also carry a low risk of dependency. As always, speak with a medical professional before trying any of these safer alternatives as they may react with other medications. As always, if you believe that you or a loved one have developed a dependence on any type of substance, do not worry! We are here to help, do not hesitate to ask!

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What are Tiny Spoons Used for in the Drug World?

Tiny spoons often prove to be a curious find for parents, friends or family members who stumble upon their loved one’s “secret stash” of drug paraphernalia. The internet is littered with questions like: what are these tiny spoons with a bunch of white powder? Or why are the bottoms of all of my spoons black? The simple answer here is drug culture in the United States.

The short answer to these questions is that very small spoons can be placed under the nose for easy, sometimes discreet snorting of drugs through the nasal cavity. Typically, larger, bent metal spoons with burn marks on the bottom is clear evidence that someone has used the spoon to inject drugs via intravenous (IV) needles. We’ll go into more depth on the different types of drug paraphernalia that are commonly used in the culture of the drug world.

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Tiny spoons can be used for snorting a variety of drugs.

Tiny spoons can be used for drugs that can be snorted, like cocaine, meth, ecstasy or even heroin. Come to think of it, even prescription drugs like Xanax, opioids like oxycontin or Adderall can be crushed up and then snorted through the sinuses. People who use drugs often like snorting these substances because the psychoactive effects will begin much faster than when these drugs are ingested in pill form.

While the high might come on quicker from snorting drugs, this usually means the effects will also wear-off sooner. In the case of highly addictive drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine, this could compel the user to immediately seek out more of the substance, creating a vicious cycle which can effectively jump-start a mental or physical addiction to the chemical.

The history of an unlikely piece of drug paraphernalia: The McSpoon

If you really want to find out how old your coke dealer is, ask them if they know what a “McSpoon” is. This item was a staple of McDonald’s restaurants throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. The long plastic stick with a small scoop on one end and the infamous golden arches on the top was used to stir cream and sugar into your coffee. But quickly people in the drug culture figured out this small plastic spoon was a good way to snort cocaine. It was an easy way to measure cocaine as well. It reportedly held exactly 100 milligrams of cocaine. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the term “McSpoon” was used by dealers as a slang term for 100mg of cocaine.

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In the 1970’s, it is estimated that a whopping 11 percent of the adult population in the United States was using cocaine regularly. In 1971 President Richard M. Nixon began the war on drugs with his declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one”. In 1979, the DEA unveiled its Model Drug Paraphernalia Act to help end the sale of common drug utensils, like pipes, rolling papers and coke spoons. Many critics thought these drug paraphernalia definitions were vague and could include just about anything, given the right circumstances.

Smoke shops and various other vendors in the US were opposed to these laws and one member mocked the vague, broad overreach of the law. As a mockery he said: “This is the best cocaine spoon in town and it’s free with every cup of coffee at McDonald’s”.  One person took this joke completely the wrong way. The president for the National Federation of Parent’s for Drug-Free Youth actually got the president of McDonald’s to agree to remove the spoon from all of their over 4,500 restaurants.

Spoons of all sizes can be used for injecting drugs with needles.

Another baffling find for someone who is unaware are their spoons being burnt black on the bottom, or simply their spoons will begin disappearing from the kitchen utensil drawer. Where did they go? If you happen to find black, burnt marks on your metal spoons, they have likely been used to mix a concoction of heroin, meth or other types of illicit or prescription drugs that can be injected with a hypodermic needle.

Once the crystal form of the drug is mixed with water and heated up, the liquid will be injected directly into the bloodstream with an IV needle. You may happen to find cotton balls, or Q-Tips, which are used to filter the concoction before injecting. Often a belt, or rubber hosing could be found along with needles and spoons.

Injecting drugs is incredibly detrimental to a person’s health and safety. Using needles to do drugs is arguably the most dangerous method of using drugs. Hypodermic needles can also lead to a full-fledged addiction at a rapid pace. Since the drug is injected directly into the bloodstream, the effects of the drug kick-in nearly instantaneously. This instant high could lead to a physical dependence and a psychological addiction to the substance before the user even realizes it. Often they won’t notice the addiction until they stop or try to quit using.

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Withdrawal symptoms for all of the drugs people use with tiny spoons are extreme and could be dangerous. Meth, cocaine, heroin and all of the other drugs discussed in this article are highly addictive and in many cases they can be deadly.

If you suspect a loved one is using drugs and ultimately risking their lives for a substance you might want to seek help, before you confront them on the issue. If you feel that the time to confront them about their drug use is right away, please help them understand that help is available.

Addiction does not automatically mean that someone is a bad person.

For many family members, co-workers or close friends, it may difficult to fully understand what they are going through. Attaching a negative stigma or personal judgement on someone who is struggling with substance abuse can ultimately discourage their willingness to change. Many addicts do not seek help for their substance use because they fear the negative judgement from their family, friends or the authorities.

Please call us today if you, or someone you love needs help. We are available 24/7 to take your private, confidential call.

We’re here for you:

(888) 249-2191

What is the Difference Between Cocaine and Crack Cocaine?

While cocaine first became popular in pop culture around the 1970’s, it is one of the oldest drugs in the world, as the leaves from the coca plant have been chewed for thousands of years. Originating in South America, the Erythroxylon coca plant was used as a stimulating medicinal product; elevating mood, aiding in digestion and suppressing appetite. The production of these plants were restricted mainly to areas where it was naturally grown, places like Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia, until the mid 19th century when American pharmaceutical companies began exploring the region. At first considered safe, the destructive and addictive qualities of the coca plant became apparent within 30 years of its introduction as a pharmaceutical product.

Cocaine is a central nervous system drug that is extremely addictive. Today, It is considered to be one of the top five most addictive drugs in the United States. According to a survey conducted in 2014 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were an estimated 1.5 million Americans who had used cocaine within the last month. Furthermore, roughly around 913,000 people in the United States had met enough criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders for dependence or abuse of cocaine in any form.

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When talking about cocaine, there are a couple of terms that may be thrown around regarding the drug, such as cocaine and crack cocaine. While it is easy to lump the two together since they are almost molecularly identical, there are still a few differences that keep them from being the same.

Molecular Differences Between Crack and Cocaine

In its natural form, when it is extracted from the coca plant, cocaine is a hydrochloride salt. At first, the substance is refined into a paste and eventually pressed into a white powder. This substance is the powdered form of cocaine and is often snorted, mixed with a liquid then injected, or smoked. Crack cocaine, otherwise known as crack, is essentially the same substance but in a different form. The process of making crack cocaine involves mixing the white powder with a base, usually baking soda, and then boiling it with water. The baking soda is removed, along with the hydrochloride, during this process making the substance more concentrated as the psychoactive chemical of cocaine is the only thing left behind. Crack gets its name from the crackling noise it makes while being smoked. Cocaine and crack cocaine are both extremely dangerous as often times pure cocaine can be cut with other harmful substances, like laundry detergent or laxatives, in order to increase profits or to create the substance known as crack.

Other Differences Between Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

Aside from the slight change in their molecular structures, there are still a few key differences between cocaine and crack cocaine.

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Both cocaine and crack cocaine increase the amount of dopamine released in the brain, causing a rush of euphoria when abused. However, since crack is more potent, their side effects can differ from one another.

Side effects of Cocaine Can Include

Side Effects of Crack Cocaine Can Include

Since crack cocaine is more potent, there is an increased risk of overdose but both drugs can kill you when taking too much. Long term use of both substances can lead to life threatening conditions such as respiratory failure, infectious disease, fatal overdose, strokes, hallucinations, and addiction.

Anyone can become addicted to either of these substances, even after just one use. Cocaine use has long been glorified in movies and sold as the “rich man's drug”, making it appealing to any age, race, or demographic. Withdrawal symptoms can become severe when discontinuing use of any of these substances. If you, a loved one, or someone you know is a cocaine user and is unsure about whether or not they are addicted, or are becoming dependent, that is usually a good sign that some level of help is necessary. There is always a chance for recovery and you do not have to struggle alone. Reach out to us for help today to begin your journey on the road to a healthier and happier life.

(888) 249-2191

Drug Trafficking in Texas: Being Aware of How to Get Help

Drug use has long been a problem in the United States and someone who wants to abuse them typically has little to no problem with finding them. Recently, we have seen a spike in opioid overdose deaths, this can be linked to the prescription painkiller epidemic and the illegal manufacturing and sale of fentanyl, a high strength opioid used to cut heroin that is roughly 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is used by drug cartels to increase profits, with little to no care about who might be consuming these drugs containing the highly potent substance. In the year of 2015 alone, there was a 50 percent increase in the number of people found guilty for trafficking drugs related to heroin. With drug abuse still on the rise, drug detection agencies have increased their efforts to crack down on drug trafficking. Unfortunately though, drug cartels operate like a business, and when one trade line is cut off they will always find new and ingenious ways of avoiding law detection.

Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of substances that are subject to drug prohibition laws such as marijauna, cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin. For example, someone who is found manufacturing methamphetamines in his basement and later caught selling it to people on the street is also guilty of drug trafficking. Drug trafficking extends to any part of the illegal manufacturing process or distribution and sale of drugs that have been determined illegal and unsafe for the population by governing officials and law enforcement agencies.

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Types of Drugs Being Trafficked

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has found that Mexican drug cartels are still the biggest threat to America when it comes to the illegal manufacture or delivery of these harmful substances. Mexican drug cartels control a major share of the smuggling and distribution of drugs within the United States. According to the DEA’s drug threat assessment, there are six main Mexican drug cartels that are contributing to this growing problem in the United States. They are known as the Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation, Jaurez, Gulf, Los Zetas, and the Beltran-Leyva Organization. The DEA has discovered that the areas mainly affected by the illegal drug trade are ones that lie closer to the Mexican border.

 

Top Districts in the US for Drug Trafficking

  1. Western District of Texas
  2. Southern District of Texas
  3. District of Arizona
  4. Southern District of California
  5. District of New Mexico

Due to its close proximity with Mexico, the state of Texas is the most heavily affected region. These Mexican drug cartels smuggle their drugs across the border and begin distributing them throughout the state. Interestingly enough though, marijuana is the drug with the highest conviction rate in Texas, due to the influx of Mexican weed that is coming across the border. Texas is also has the fourth highest rate per capita for drug trafficking sentences with an average sentence lasting around 77 months (about 6 ½ years).

In response to this growing crisis, Texas government officials enacted what is known today as the Texas Controlled Substances Act. It defines drug trafficking as the manufacturing or delivery of controlled substances. In the state of Texas, being convicted for trafficking drugs is a felony and considered a very serious crime.

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Texas Controlled Substances Act

In Texas, you can commit three different actions that will be treated as a drug trafficking criminal offense.

  1. Transporting- When an individual knowingly transports drugs in a vehicle from one location to another. Any physical movement of drugs from one place to another is considered transporting.
  2. Distribution-  When an individual knowingly distributes drugs from one person to another. Transferring drugs in any way to another individual is considered distribution, so if someone is selling drugs out of their apartment they can and will be prosecuted for drug trafficking.
  3. Possessing with Intent to Distribute- When an individual knowingly possesses drugs with the intent to distribute them to at least one other person. So if someone is found with a stash of drugs and has not yet distributed them, but had every intention to do so, this is also considered drug trafficking.

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, there are 5 different penalty groups for the severity of the crime based upon the amount of drugs found.

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Drug trafficking is taken very seriously in states like Texas as the problem is more apparent. Knowing what to look for can help law enforcement agencies keep the streets safer for yourself and others. Some things to pay attention to are:

A new tenant willing to pay months in advance with cash

These are just a few of the indicators that someone could be taking part in drug trafficking near you. If you suspect someone of trafficking drugs, do not handle the situation on your own as they can be highly dangerous. If you see something, say something, get help by calling your local law enforcement. No tip is ever considered to be too minor.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a dependency on drugs,

please call us today and get help from a rehabilitation specialist.

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Why is Meth so Hard to Quit?

Methamphetamine, speed, ice, or crystal meth is hard to quit simply because it is one of the most addictive drugs known to exist. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s methamphetamine was a major problem in Texas and across the whole nation because the ingredients were relatively easy to obtain at your local, street corner drug stores. The availability of ephedrine and other cold medications used to manufacture meth was at a high point. Then, between 2005-2006, the United States Federal Government began regulating the cold medicines used to manufacture meth. This created a decrease in meth production, coupled with a decrease in social indicators of misuse and abuse for the drug.

This decline in drug abuse indicators for meth continued until fairly recently. Methamphetamine has made quite the comeback, especially in southern and western states, partially due to the influence of the Mexican drug cartels. This new methamphetamine epidemic has been overshadowed by the constant media headlines of the opioid epidemic. While many politicians, governing agencies and the news media are focused on heroin and prescription pain killer overdose deaths, meth is silently killing thousands of Americans every year. Sadly, it appears only to be getting worse.

Methamphetamine is incredibly addictive, which makes meth hard to quit.

With the US crackdown on meth labs in the early 2000’s, we have a new precursor to methamphetamine manufacture known as phenyl-2-propanoe (P2P). This is what the Mexican drug cartels use in meth production that makes their versions so much more potent. The increase in meth potency from south of the border also makes the substance much, much more addictive. The intoxicating effects of Mexican meth is far greater that what we saw just a decade ago coming from American meth labs. The potency alone contributes to substance abuse and addiction at a far higher rate than we’ve seen in the past.

In Houston, Texas, the presence of methamphetamine is at an all time high, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Meth lab seizures in Texas are virtually non-existent, however as the majority of the drug seizures in the United States can be traced back to Mexico. Meth from Mexico is typically transported to the US in liquid form. The liquid methamphetamine is smuggled into the US in modified gas tanks. This liquid meth is then converted into its typical crystal form at conversion labs here in the US. This is commonly a much more potent form of the drug than we’ve seen in the past. Lab testing in 2007 showed an average meth purity level of 39 percent. Today, meth found on the streets in the US typically tests around a level of 93 percent purity.

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The greater availability and increased potency of meth, means more abuse and more drug overdoses.

Stimulant overdoses from cocaine and meth are the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the state of Texas. Fentanyl overdose deaths are also spiking currently and many attribute this to the increase in stimulant overdoses. This is somewhat ironic, as fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which is quite the opposite of a stimulant. However, drug dealers in Texas will order the drug from China and mix it in with their supply of cocaine, methamphetamine or counterfeit prescription pills. No one is completely certain as to why drug dealers mix fentanyl with drugs that are supposed to have the exact opposite effect, but it may be to increase the perceived potency of their drugs, or it might even be entirely accidental. Some drug labs or pill mills (which Houston is notoriously known for), may manufacture or cut different drugs with the same lab equipment, which can lead to unintentional cross-contamination of drugs. Fentanyl is so deadly that just a dose the size of 3 grains of salt is enough to kill an average human being.

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Many who abuse methamphetamine are also known to use other substances as well. The Chicago Tribune recently ran a story about dual addiction, titled: “Meth in the morning, heroin at night”. Across the nation, meth use is on the rise and many experts are saying the opioid epidemic has given crystal meth a resurgence. Opioid users who admit to using meth as well has gone up from 19% in 2011 to 34% in 2018. This evidence suggests that as doctors began to cut back on writing prescriptions for opioids, that many users began to seek street drugs like meth and heroin.

For others, methamphetamine and opioids can offer a type of synergistic high. The two types of drugs in combination can sort of balance each other out, making it seem that the user is able to function normally. In the past, the term “speedball” (which was a mix of heroin and cocaine) was used to describe the balancing of two, seemingly opposite drugs. This combination has been deadly, killing many people, including notable celebrities such as: John Belushi, Chris Farley, Ken Caminiti, Mitch Hedberg, Chris Kelly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

In theory, the meth combats the opioid’s drowsiness, while the opioid balances out the erratic, spastic “tweakiness” of the methamphetamine. Many people who abuse any type of drug end up “chasing the dragon” trying to feel “normal” again. For some people, their “normal” is constantly changing. This happens as their body’s tolerance to the drugs they’re using fluctuates, or the potency or types of drugs they are currently using can change rapidly as well. This is a dangerous balancing act, one that has led many people to dangerous and deadly consequences.

Meth is a drug that is very hard to quit. The crisis at the US-Mexico border has helped create a meth-overdose epidemic.                  

While the opioid crisis appears to be slowing-down, a new meth-fueled crisis is poised to take its place. It is estimated that 774,000 Americans used methamphetamine in 2017. When US lawmakers cracked-down on the manufacture of meth in the mid-2000’s, it worked. That is, until the Mexican drug cartels filled-in the gap. Now meth is available in virtually every community across the United States. While it is extremely important to keep focusing efforts on combating the opioid epidemic, we should be looking at ways to help people who need treatment for an addiction. This act alone would cut down on the demand for these dangerous drugs, which is the first step towards truly combating the problem.

If you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse problem, please don’t hesitate to call us at More Than Rehab. We are available 24/7 to help or your loved one create the foundation to live a better life. We offer the best in evidence-based addiction treatment in the greater Houston area. Please don’t wait any longer, call us right away:

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