Mississippi has approximately 2,858,029 citizens scattered from the coast to Tennessee, then over to Alabama. Included in that number are 7,034 law enforcement officers who work to keep the illegal use and distribution of drugs in check. While cocaine, especially crack, is believed to be the biggest drug threat in Mississippi, methamphetamine abuse and manufacturing is rising. The abuse of pharmaceutical drugs is also growing with OxyContin abuse rising fastest.
Mississippi is ideally suited for transporting drugs, with its interstate highways, deep water and river ports, and air and rail systems. As the “Crossroads of the South” drugs come in from Texas, Mexico and other areas and travel to the Midwest and east. Trafficking patterns show the state’s system of highways is preferred for transporting drugs into and through Mississippi.
Cocaine is widely used and moved throughout the state. It is the largest problem drug in Mississippi.
Cocaine is being trafficked and used by people of all racial and socioeconomic groups in all of Mississippi’s 82 counties. Crack cocaine is still the drug of choice among users and traffickers in the African American population.
Local and state agencies report that heroin use is rare. Although there have been cases where it was confiscated from local dealers who only had small amounts in their possession, most of the state’s heroin seizures come from users.
The manufacture and sale of methamphetamine is the fastest growing drug problem in Mississippi. Almost unheard of ten years ago, it is now nearing epidemic proportions.
Not only has methamphetamine abuse affected law enforcement officials, farmers, and local merchants, drug treatment centers have also been affected by rising admissions. According to drug treatment professionals, methamphetamine abuse was first seen ten years ago with a sizable increase in the past five years.
Originally, methamphetamine use was limited to northern counties in Mississippi; however, several items lead to its spreading throughout the state. Bridges at Greenville, MS; Helena, AR; Coahoma County, MS; and Memphis, TN provide access to Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee, states with huge methamphetamine problems. Manufacturers have also moved into northern Mississippi because of the ample supply of anhydrous ammonia and fewer law enforcement officials.
Both LSD and ecstasy are being distributed and used in Mississippi nightclubs, at rave parties, and on college campuses. Ecstasy confiscations have increased significantly since 1998. It has become the most popular of the “club” or “designer” drugs in the state.
Illegal prescription drugs are being abused by individuals from all racial and socioeconomic groups. In Mississippi, pharmaceutical abuse is primarily happening at the retail level through forging or altering prescriptions and through doctor shopping. Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Oxycodone, Percodan, OxyContin, Alivan and Dilaudid are the most abused pharmaceuticals in the state. OxyContin is currently the drug of greatest concern and has resulted in 14 overdoses in recent years.
Marijuana is the most widely abused drug in Mississippi. Large quantities of Mexican marijuana are transported from Texas through Mississippi on Interstates 10, 12, and 55 headed for larger cities in the northeast and southeast. Pick-up trucks, vans, tractor-trailers and buses carry the marijuana in 50, 100 and 200 pound bricks in hidden compartments. Domestic marijuana is available throughout Mississippi in small patches grown in and around dense vegetation and around lakes. Marijuana is trafficked and used by all ethnic and socioeconomic groups in the state, often along with or after the use of other drugs.
The number of meth lab seizure incidents in Mississippi increased 334 percent from 155 incidents in 2007 to 673 incidents in 2009.
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