South Texas Drug Addiction
The State of Texas has long owned a reputation for being rugged and tough, developing as it did from the Old West with its cowboys and gunslingers. Recent years in the state have seen tremendous technological and industrial expansion, starting with oil and continuing with the high-tech explosion in the second half of the twentieth century.
But in recent years, a new type of development has threatened to undermine the prosperity and stability of life in Texas. And that is the development of some of the most successful and prolific drug smuggling channels in the country. From El Paso in the West to Brownsville in the East, the ports of entry between Texas and Mexico provide opportunities to traffic huge quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
One factor that has made it easier to slip drugs across the border is the increase in international trade that resulted from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Increased commercial traffic through every port, especially those in Laredo, Texas and El Paso, has made it more difficult to detect shipments of drugs.
In the last few years, major drug cartels have been competing for control along the Southern California-Mexico border and the Texas-Mexico border. As competition heated up, the cartels became more sophisticated. More money was spent on arms and surveillance equipment. More violent incidents occurred on both sides of the border in attempts to control or win new turf or collect debts from drug dealers.
Drug trafficking organizations constantly adapt their operations in response to changes in interdiction activities. The most recent adaptation appears to be movement of an increased quantity of drugs through Texas as cartels seek to escape heavy law enforcement attention and cartel violence around the Southern California ports of entry. Accordingly, Texans are subjected to the effects of more drugs being transported along their highways, more violent crime perpetrated by cartels and higher levels of drug abuse and addiction, especially in regions near the border.
One study found that students along the border had twice the cocaine usage rates of students just 50 miles inland. Some of the highest rates of admission to treatment for drug abuse are in the counties near large ports of entry (POE): Webb County near Laredo POE, Cameron County near Brownsville POE and Hidalgo County near the McAllen POE, all with high rates of admission for treatment of addiction to cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Starr County near the Roma POE and Rio Grande City sees high levels of admissions for cocaine and marijuana and Maverick County near the Eagle Pass POE has high levels of admissions for marijuana abuse.
Fortunately, there is now help for Texas. Six years ago, a new Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation center was opened in Harlingen, Texas. Harlingen is located just a stone's throw from two of the heaviest drug trafficking corridors in the country: Brownsville and McAllen.
This Narconon is the only residential facility in the area for those who are determined to kick their addictions and live clean and sober lives. Most of those choosing this Narconon for their recovery from substance abuse come from Texas, Florida, New Mexico and New York. Many Texans who have encountered legal problems necessitating residence in the state solve the dilemma by selecting this Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
Harlingen is served by its own international airport, making transportation to the rehabilitation facility simple. As many as 22 individuals can seek a drug-free life at any one time, and they are serviced by 12 staff. Four staff are Certified Chemical Dependency Counselors. In the last six years, nearly 50 people have graduated to their new drug-free lives.
The facility maintains a home-like atmosphere, with one portion of the house being allocated for women who are overcoming addiction, and one wing being devoted to male residents. The grounds include a gym, volleyball court, swimming pool and laundry. Seventeen acres of Old West terrain surround the drug rehabilitation facility, providing privacy and space to walk and relax.
Several of the staff are Spanish-speaking, and the ratio of staff to public means that each person pursuing sobriety and freedom from addiction can get plenty of one-on-one time with the staff.
People staying at this center to achieve a new life without drugs or alcohol are referred to as students, as much of the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program involves studying new life skills that enable a person to make drug-free decisions, to recover their own self-esteem and enjoyment of life, and learn also how to restore relationships with family and friends that may have been destroyed by the addict's lifestyle.
Students on the addiction rehabilitation program may enjoy bowling, movies or other outings to town, or may have a chance to take part in community events. In the past students have made participating in city clean-up projects a part of their own recovery from addiction, as they learn to not only take care of themselves better but also care for their families, their communities, their world.
Narconon Drug Information Department