›› Alabama: Drug
There is widespread use of illicit drugs originating from out of state,
along with homegrown marijuana and increasingly the local manufacture of
both meth and designer drugs.
Illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana still account for
the bulk of drugs flowing into Alabama . Drugs are trafficked into Alabama
via Colombian, Mexican, and Caribbean Drug Trafficking Groups along with regional
and local criminal organizations. Mexican, Caribbean and regional criminal
organizations have been found to operate extensive distribution networks within
Alabama . On a smaller scale Motorcycle Gangs are also supplying meth through
their own networks in the state. The incidence of local Clandestine Meth Labs
Marijuana accounts for most of the arrests in Alabama but cocaine and crack cocaine also pose a major threat. The addictive characteristics of crack cocaine can destroy otherwise productive lives and perhaps a key factor why many individuals succumb to health conditions that prompt them to turn to their life cover insurance premiums to pay for medical expenses. The violence associated with cocaine trafficking and street sales creates a pall that hangs over many of Alabama 's lower income neighborhoods. The greater part of Alabama 's cocaine is supplied through Mexican sources in the border states . ( California , Arizona , and Texas ) Alabama 's near proximity to Atlanta , Georgia , and Miami , Florida , (Major trafficking Hubs) also comprises a significant threat. Atlanta is a major transportation center for the airline industry and transcontinental trucking, while Miami has always been a major international drug trafficking hub and many of the South American and Caribbean groups have ties to the south Florida.
Heroin is not a significant factor in Alabama during the past few years; however
indications are that recently heroin use is increasing. Most heroin in Alabama
comes into the state by way of Jamaica , and more recently from New York . The
purity of heroin found in Alabama is increasing while the street price is dropping.
This presents an alarming trend.
Meth is becoming the biggest drug threat in Alabama . Methamphetamine
abuse surpasses cocaine statewide. Enforcement initiatives are underway
to identify drug trafficking organizations involved in meth importation,
production and distribution. Methamphetamine labs are generally located
in isolated rural communities. Intelligence indicates that bulk methamphetamine
distribution in Alabama is dominated by groups supplied by sources in Mexico
with transport routes through the border states . Mexican Drug Trafficking
Organizations use long haul trucks, rented cars, private vehicles and airlines
as well as shipping via the Post Office and other interstate commercial
carriers. Street sales of and use of meth are divided between the Hispanic
and Caucasian communities. The increasing popularity of meth in small towns
has resulted in an increase in theft and violence. EPIC statistics indicated
lab seizures of 207, 280, and 297 in 2002, 2003, 2004, respectively,
indicating an increase in illicit production.
- Club Drugs
The use and distribution of club drugs among young people is increasing dramatically.
Arrests, overdoses and emergency room visits along with seizures of designer
“Club Drugs” is up. Ecstasy, LSD, GHB, MDMA are more readily available throughout
the state. These drugs are commonly found in college towns on campuses and
at venues frequented by students. GHB and MDMA have become the club drugs
of choice. Most users are young and white from all economic levels but most
often university students and ravers. Ecstasy use has continued to increase.
Intelligence indicates Ecstasy is most often coming in from Atlanta, Georgia.
Other sources are Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee and internationally from
Germany. Ecstasy is the #1 "Club
Drug” but the use of GHB and it’s variants has been rising. GHB is now considered
a significant threat for Alabama. Solvents containing GHB analogs are available
from the Internet. GHB overdoses are being reported regularly. LSD has not
seen a corresponding increase in use in Alabama.
Marijuana is the most abused drug in Alabama. In the past few years, there
has been a marked increase in street dealing and in the size of loads
seized. (Particularly in Huntsville and surrounding areas) Previously
a 10 pound seizure of marijuana would have been relatively rare, and considered
a significant bust. Now it’s common for Huntsville police to seize loads
of between 50 and 100 pounds. Production of marijuana inside Alabama is still
declining while trafficking into the state is increasing, mostly from Mexico
via the interstate and from South America through port cities in Florida
and up through the Port of Mobile.
Criminal groups transport large shipments (sometimes well over 100 kilos) into
Alabama from the southwestern border region. Typically marijuana is hidden
in commercial and private vehicles or sent through the mail or package delivery
services. Even though the interstate is the known route for most of the seizures,
Intelligence indicates a strong possibility of marijuana smuggling through
the various Airports in Alabama.
- Pharmaceutical Diversions
In Alabama Hydrocodone drugs such as Vicodin® have the highest incidence of diversion.
Authorities primarily see diversion from three avenues.
1. Direct illegal distribution and sale of prescription drugs by health care professionals and workers in the healthcare arena
2. “Doctor Shopping” (going to different doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions)
3. Fraudulent Internet purchase
In Alabama: Hydrocodone drugs such as Vicodin®, Metadone, Oxycodone variants
such as OxyContin®, benzodiazepines such as Xanax®, and phentermine are the most
commonly diverted pharmaceuticals.