Cartels Are Shipping Thousands of Pounds of Meth Into Texas

The National Drug Intelligence Center reported that Mexican drug cartels have come up with extensive drug distribution and transportation networks along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. 

According to the intelligence center, the drug trafficking networks extend from Texas to all other states in the US. The cartels have drug suppliers in most, if not all, the states.

Law enforcement officers in Texas have, on several occasions, seized drugs from traffickers in the area. Some of the most common drugs seized in Texas are: methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

 Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, or crystal meth is an addictive stimulant that harms the general health and well-being of those who use it. It is a controlled substance, and its potential for abuse is relatively high.

This article discusses meth abuse in Texas and how cartels are shipping thousands of pounds of meth into Texas.

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Meth abuse in Texas

A 2017 survey revealed that approximately 120,000 Texas residents aged over 12 years abuse meth every year. In 2018, there were over 950 deaths involving meth abuse. Additionally, 570 calls to the poison center were related to meth.

The Addiction Research Institute (ARI) also researched meth abuse in Texas. The research revealed that there were 12,385 treatment admissions of Texas residents. Treatment facilities admitted most of them due to meth abuse.

Why is meth abuse prevalent in Texas?

Meth abuse is prevalent in Texas for several reasons. For starters, Texas shares a 1254-mile border with Mexico. The border has proved difficult to fence since it is on an extensive stretch of land. Therefore, there are no physical barriers between Texas and Mexico, making it easy for cartels to transport their merchandise to the United States across the border.

Another reason is that there are thousands of acres of unoccupied land in Texas, specifically in southeast Texas. This gives traffickers ample time and space to ensure their meth supply reaches the intended destinations with no interruptions.

The Gulf of Mexico is also a contributing factor since it allows drug traffickers to use narco submarines, boats, and other crafts for their illegal business.

Cartels

Recently, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff Office, Texas, seized over 1400 pounds of liquid methamphetamine in five weeks. According to them, the street value of the seized liquid meth is $ 16 million dollars. Although officers made arrests during the drug bust, they declined to reveal further details citing ongoing investigations by undercover officers and surveillance. 

Bill Waybourn, the Tarrant County Sheriff, confirmed that authorities seized the drugs on two different occasions. On the first occasion, police officers pulled over a vehicle whose license plate matched a car someone had reported stolen. The seizure led to further investigations which resulted in a second seizure. 

Special agent Eduardo Chavez, DEA Dallas division, said that the liquid methamphetamine they seized was 99% pure. He also noted they were sure a drug cartel was behind the illegal trade.

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Investigator Calvin Bond, who works in Tarrant County, said they suspect the drug cartels targets locations like Dallas-Fort Worth because they are closer to Mexico. Additionally, he said they suspect the meth was produced in meth labs in Mexico, converted to liquid meth, then smuggled to the States through the Texas border. When the liquid meth reaches its intended destination, distributers crystallize it and sell it in the streets.

Police departments, the DEA, and the Sheriff’s office helped in the investigations.

Texas meth penalties

In Texas, meth attracts severe penalties. This is because meth use has become more prevalent in the past few years. To deter Texas residents from using meth, law enforcement officers, judges, and courts put stringent measures in place. If you are found in possession of meth, you will face harsh penalties, including hefty fines and jail time.

The penalties vary depending on the amount of meth the accused person had. The judges also consider the facts of the case and one’s criminal history.

Here is a breakdown of penalties you are likely to face;

Why treatment for meth addiction is difficult

Compared to alcohol and drug abuse, treatment for meth addiction is relatively difficult for several reasons. For starters, there are no medications to help with the rehabilitation and treatment efforts.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has proved to be very efficient in easing withdrawal effects and preventing relapses. It is an essential tool in most addiction treatment center programs. Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved medications for meth addiction treatment. This makes detox for meth addiction overwhelming to most patients.

Another major cause for concern is the ease of access. Between the 1990s and 2000s, there was an extensive crackdown on meth labs in the United States, most of which were located in Texas, specifically in the San Antonio and Houston areas. Some were small operations while others were quite big, inside large warehouses. When the government became strict after the crackdown, most labs closed down.

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Today, most meth in the United States is supplied by Mexican drug cartels. It is very potent and quite affordable. A report by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) revealed that the current price of meth is the lowest they have ever seen. Therefore, addicts undergoing treatment can easily relapse since meth is easily accessible and affordable.

Rehab options for people addicted to meth

Different treatment centers have a variety of rehab options for meth addicts. Most treatment facilities use behavioral therapies in the treatment of meth addiction.

At More Than Rehab, we have a comprehensive meth rehabilitation program. Our staff is excellently equipped to deal with meth addiction treatment and other underlying mental issues. We focus on ensuring that the patient is healthy both physically and mentally.

Considering that currently, there is no FDA-approved medication to help those in treatment deal with treatment effects, we incorporate a combination of group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relapse prevention, and contingency management to make the recovery process more manageable.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us for professional help. We offer meth addiction treatment to all persons regardless of addiction severity. Let us help you turn your life around.

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Pupil Dilation & Drug Use - What Drugs Cause It?

There are many different signs of drug abuse, some more common than others. Pupil dilation is one of the most common signs of drug abuse

This article will discuss the various drugs that cause pupil dilation and what to look out for if you’re worried that your loved one is abusing or addicted to drugs.

What are pupils?

Pupils are black circles found at the center of each eye. Usually, they constrict (become smaller) or dilate (become more prominent) when the light levels in your surroundings vary. The pupils’ primary function is to direct light to the optic nerve at the back of your eyes (retina), thus allowing you to see.

Eye muscles located in the iris are responsible for pupil dilation. They manipulate pupils and make them adjust depending on the amount of light.

Pupils measure 2-4 millimeters when constricted and about 4-8 millimeters when dilated. Therefore, your pupil size can vary depending on the circumstances.

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What is pupil dilation, and why does it occur?

Pupil dilation after drug abuse occurs when the drugs activate your body’s flight or fight adrenaline response by engaging adrenergic receptors in the brain and serotonin. This results in a chemical reaction that leads to muscle relaxation (mydriasis), making the pupils expand to allow more light in.

Drugs that can cause pupil dilation

Several drugs can alter pupil size since most drug interactions in the body affect neurotransmitters which are your body’s chemical messengers.

Most drugs contain chemicals. Therefore, they cause chemical reactions in your body, affecting neurotransmitters. Since neurotransmitters determine your pupil size, they may dilate after drug use.

There are specific drugs that can cause eye dilation. Most of them are psychotropic substances and stimulants.  

Some common drugs that cause pupils to dilate are:

·       LSD

·       Cocaine

·       Ecstasy

·       Mescaline

·       Amphetamines

·       MDMA

·       Psilocybin

·       SSRI antidepressants

Xanax, a benzodiazepine drug, can also make pupils dilate since it affects the activity of neurotransmitter GABA that relaxes the muscles. Additionally, the stimulant medication used in ADHD treatment, i.e., Adderall and Ritalin, can also cause pupil dilation.

Other drugs, specifically opioids, can cause pinpoint pupils. Pinpoint pupils refer to pupils constricting and failing to respond to light. Sometimes, pinpoint pupils are an overdose symptom. If you notice a heroin user has pinpoint pupils, it would be best to call 911 immediately.

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Marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine cause bloodshot eyes when they expand the blood vessels around the pupils.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more information on the drugs mentioned above, including the effects of LSD. 

How is pupil dilation determined?

When there is suspicion of drug abuse, there is a unique tool that officers or medical practitioners can use to determine pupil dilation and the most likely cause.

First responders use the Drug Recognition Card to determine whether or not an individual is sober. The International Association of Chiefs of Police invented the chart to quickly determine the pupil size difference between sober people and those high on drugs

The Drug Recognition Card can also help first responders determine which drug is responsible for the dilation. It has a list of various drugs and a pupil dilation scale which helps officers gauge the extent of pupil dilation.

Other possible causes of pupil dilation

Besides light and drug use, pupils can dilate for the following reasons:

·       Pupils can dilate if you focus on objects far away from you.

·       If you get a concussion, one of your pupils may dilate. One of them will appear more prominent.

·       Emotions. How you feel can make your pupils dilate. Most times, pupil dilation is a sign of endorphin release. If you’re happy, your pupils will appear more prominent.

·       Anisocoria. Anisocoria refers to a medical condition where one pupil is bigger than the other.

·       Iritis. Iritis is an eye condition caused by inflammation of the iris.

·       Prescription medication. Some prescription medicines can cause pupil dilation. They include antihistamines, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, anticholinergics, decongestants, mydriatics, benzodiazepines, dopamine precursors, and stimulants.

Are there long-term effects of pupil dilation?

If your pupils dilate due to drug abuse, you may wonder whether they would remain that way for good.

The pupils often go back to their original size when the drug side effects fade. However, there are a few instances when the pupils become dilated during the withdrawal period. This is common in individuals who abuse opioids.

Currently, there aren’t enough studies to conclude whether or not drug use can result in permanent pupil dilation.

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How to deal with pupil dilation

When your pupils dilate due to drug use or for any other reason, it can be uncomfortable since the pupils let in more light. Everything may appear overwhelmingly bright, and you may be sensitive to most if not all sources of light.

You may need to wear protective eye gear to shield yourself from light. This way, you will be more comfortable walking around and doing day-to-day tasks. Photochromic lenses and sunglasses will come in handy. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, while photochromic lenses automatically adjust your light  levels.

If you’re worried about pupil dilation, you can contact an eye specialist who will examine you and advise you on eye health.

Other signs of drug use

Although pupil dilation can be a sign of drug abuse, you cannot conclude that individuals have abused drugs by simply looking at their pupil size.

You may need to look out for other symptoms of drug abuse. The most common ones include; restlessness, unexplained mood changes, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, tremors, high blood pressure, heavy sweating, and change in sleep patterns. The individual’s performance at work or school may also be affected.

If you notice your loved one has any symptoms of drug abuse, it may be time to seek professional help.

Seek professional help

At More Than Rehab, we acknowledge that abusing alcohol or drugs can have many side effects. Drug abuse affects your life and that of your loved ones. You are also likely to develop a substance use disorder.

To start your healing journey, contact us today. Other than addiction, we deal with co-occurring disorders like depression, self-harm, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. We will walk with you every step of the way and help you turn your life

Texas is Dealing with Even More Fentanyl Problems

Fentanyl is the newest drug to blame for the growing opioid epidemic in Texas. This might sound odd, considering the drug is medically approved and is often prescribed by doctors. However, statistics show deaths involve fentanyl abuse more now than ever before in the state of Texas

The misuse of opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioids, has reached epidemic proportions in the US, leading to over 69,710 overdose deaths in 2020. This is according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Texas, in particular, has experienced an upsurge in overdose deaths, accounting for over 3,000 deaths in 2020. Moreover, trends in opioid abuse in the state point to worsening problems in the coming years.

What is fentanyl?

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Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used to treat chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery. It is a Schedule II drug like morphine, only about 50-100 times more potent. When used under doctor’s supervision, fentanyl has legitimate medical use. However, some people use fentanyl at unprescribed levels, exposing themselves to many issues, like tolerance and addiction.

Fentanyl is highly addictive due to its potency. It’s therefore common for those taking prescription fentanyl to experience dependence that’s characterized by withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. Symptoms like sleep issues, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe cravings are uncomfortable and make it hard for people to stop taking fentanyl.

When these people can no longer access prescription fentanyl, they may turn to the streets for options. Unless they enroll in a treatment programthey might not be able to pull themselves out of the hole. Alcohol or drug addictions are best treated by professionals.

On the streets, fentanyl has nicknames like:

Illegal fentanyl is available in different forms, including nasal sprays, powder, pressed pill, eyedroppers, and dropped onto blotter paper. The risks of drug overdose on fentanyl than other opioids are extremely high due to its potency.

In fact, it is now the number one cause of drug overdose deaths. And to worsen the situation, illegal manufacturers often cut fentanyl into other opioids making it even more potent. Examples of these drugs include heroin and cocaine. The lack of quality control on illegal drug production adds another layer of danger.

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Fentanyl epidemic in Texas

Many drugs are sold on the streets of Texas, but none is doing as much damage as fentanyl. According to statistics, the drug has led to a significant increase in opioid overdoses in recent years. In 2020, drug overdose deaths rose to 93,000 and were mostly fueled by the rise of fentanyl.

The scary part is that this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone in California and Texas combined– a 950% rise compared to last year. Most fentanyl enters Texas through the southern border.

Gov. Greg Abbott believes that President Biden’s border policies are the reason behind Texas’s fentanyl problem that begun in 2020 but drastically increased in the first four months of 2021. According to Abbott, people crossing the border come with things that are not visible to the public yet carry deadly danger.

“2mg of Fentanyl has the power to take a life,” read Gov. Abbott’s tweet. “This year, @TxDPS has seized 95lbs of Fentanyl. That’s 21.5M lethal doses. Biden’s deadly border policies are being felt in communities throughout TX and the country. DPS & @TexasGuard are working on getting these drugs off the streets.”

Organizations that traffic fentanyl typically distribute by kilogram. A Kg of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people. Sadly, most people who take street drugs have no idea they contain fentanyl. And even those who know they’re taking fentanyl still have no idea that it has a lethal dose.

According to the Center for Disease Control, synthetic opioids are the main culprits behind overdose deaths in Texas and the country at large, rising 38.4% during 12 month period that ends May 2020. In this period, the DEA reports:

Pandemic and fentanyl overdose deaths

The proximity to the border is not the only factor that fuels fentanyl use in Texas. Different sources say there has been evidence of increased fentanyl use during the pandemic. The disruption of the supply chain forced people to turn to drugs they weren’t familiar with. And the stay-at-home measures meant more people were taking drugs in isolation. Other risk factors for fentanyl addiction include:

Where is the fentanyl coming from?

Most of the illegal drugs that come into the US are cultivated in poppy fields in Mexico. They are then distributed by cartels the DEA describes as the greatest drug traffic threat to the US. These cartels smuggle fentanyl and other drugs in passenger and commercial vehicles and through underground tunnels.

Socioeconomic consequences of fentanyl use

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The fentanyl epidemic is having devastating effects on other aspects of public health. It has led to high rates of HIV, hepatitis C, and other illnesses, mostly because of shared syringes. There are also more cases of pregnant mothers passing opioid dependency on their unborn children.

study performed by HHS researchers revealed that cases of neonatal withdrawal symptoms experienced by newborns exposed to opioids while in the womb skyrocketed to over 80% between 2010 and 2017. Not only that. There’s a good chance that the opioid crisis caused an upsurge in the number of children in foster care.

Besides, those struggling with addiction may suffer a job loss or even end up with legal troubles. Addiction is expensive and often puts a strain on family and friends. After all, only those who care about the patient will provide resources to see one through treatment. In some cases, it’s also the close relations that take the most financial heat – like when the person struggling with addiction spends lots of money or they max out the credit in their pursuit to use.

Treating fentanyl addiction

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids and can quickly lead to addiction. It is therefore, crucial to know the risk factors and warning signs of fentanyl addiction. Awareness can help prevent overdose and related deaths and encourage one to get help.

Facilities offering treatment for drug addiction exist to help those who end up with addiction regain control of their lives. There are also support groups to help one stay on the path to long-term recovery.