July 22, 2012
The scope of drug trafficking is vast and always expanding. Over the years the drug problem has only become a larger problem or maybe it is just talked about more now than it used to be. In the late 80’s and early 90’s there was an abundance of news related to drugs, but what you saw was almost always about Mexico and Colombia and how they were infiltrating the United States with drugs. Watching movies there was a stereotype of what a drug dealer/trafficker looked like and now that picture does not stand the test of time. Drug trafficking is not limited to one type of person, one area or one country it is a worldwide problem and has only grown larger over the years. Part of the problem this day and age is that there is not definitive person that could be trafficking in drugs or even manufacturing them. The soccer mom down the street, the teacher or even the stay at home mom could be part of a drug ring not that they were not before, but now its talked about more than it was in the past. A contributing factor to this is the Internet because methods of production are readily accessible leading to more locally manufactured drugs than there was in years past. There is also not one environment that is affected its not just the slums or projects it’s the upscale neighborhoods, its people who have everything not just people who have nothing. The problem seems to have wider variety of people that are affected by it, but then again maybe it is just talked about more than it used to be. According to David Shirk the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health stated that approximately 21.8 million people over the age of 12 had used drugs since the last report in 2008 (Shirk, 2011). This report just shows that the usage of drugs is not limited to one type of person or area because there is no way that 21 million people come from the same exact circumstances or environments. The Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1988 led to the creation of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Research has shown that there are 28 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas this is up from the five that were identified in 1990(Whitehouse.gov/ondcp). These areas cover roughly 16 percent of all counties in the United States and 60 % of the population (Whitehouse.gov/ondcp).
The countries that have a role in the trade are as diverse as they are widespread. South American drug organizations are known for Cocaine and heroine, Israeli, Russian and the Netherlands drug organizations are known for Ecstasy, and Canada is known for Marijuana. These countries contribute to the problem, but United States also plays a more defined role in the production and distribution of locally produced marijuana, methamphetamine, PCP and LSD. In 2001 approximately 8000 clandestine methamphetamine labs were seized and reported to the National Clandestine Laboratory Database at the El Paso Intelligence Center (www.justice.gov/dea). The amount of labs has gone down in recent years, but they are still a major problem in the United States. There are home labs that people use to manufacture multiple drugs either for personal use or to put on the streets to make money. Some of the drugs that are brought into the United States are Cocaine, Methamphetamines, Heroin, and Marijuana. It is estimated that the United States is the still the largest regional cocaine market in the world with close to 40% of the global cocaine use (World Drug Report, 2010). The use of cocaine has decreased in the United States, but the fact that we still remain the largest consumer is a problem. The use of drugs seems to shift from country to country and region to region, but there always seems to be a market in the United States. People in the United States that use drugs are involved with every drug that comes into the country or is manufactured in the country. In the 90’s cocaine production shifted to