In Jefferson Parish at the end of last month, the detectives from the sheriff’s office seized almost $500,000 worth of cocaine in the amount of 14 kilograms. Detective Brett Leblanc got a tip that someone would be traveling to the New Orleans area from Houston with a large amount of cocaine. He contacted the FBI as well as the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and set up surveillance on I-10. It was not long before they spotted the 2011 Kia Sorrento in Kenner near I-10. They pulled over the driver, Jovan Barron, and searched the car, finding cocaine wrapped up in bricks. Barron and the woman riding with him were both arrested and charged with possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine.
Drug busts like these are not abnormal for New Orleans. The ongoing problems with addiction in the area mean that drug traffickers frequently pass through the state. Many bring packages from Texas that originate out of Mexico, stopping in New Orleans or passing through other parts of the state on their way to other big cities in the Southwest.
The good news is that there are 14 fewer kilos of cocaine on the streets of Louisiana than there would otherwise have been. The bad news is that there are still many families struggling across the state with addiction disorders involving cocaine use and the use of other drugs and alcohol.
A Medical Disorder
Addiction is a brain disease, and because it is a chronic disorder, there is a chance of relapse despite remission. The goal of treatment, then, is to help someone stop using all drugs of choice safely and then to address the many different things that may be contributing to the compulsive use of drugs and alcohol – and/or engagement in other addictive behaviors – to create a new life that is defined by balance and stability.
Because addiction, or engagement in compulsive use of any behaviors despite harmful consequences, is not a matter of willpower, intensive treatment is recommended. At Townsend, we make use of genetic testing as well as medical monitoring of each patient we treat with the goal of collecting scientific data that will help us to better understand how best to customize treatment.
It is important to note that though everyone living with addiction is living with a brain disorder that requires medical and therapeutic treatment, no two treatment plans should be the same. Rather, an individualized schedule of medications, therapies, and/or other treatment measures will be put together in a unique arrangement for each patient at Townsend.
Implications of Drug Busts
Drug busts have a significant impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Here are some of the implications of drug busts:
1. Reduction in Drug Availability
Drug busts reduce the availability of illegal drugs, making it harder for individuals to access them. This reduction in availability can lead to a decrease in drug-related problems such as addiction, crime, and violence.
Drug busts deter others from engaging in drug-related activities. The fear of arrest and punishment can discourage individuals from getting involved in the production, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs.
3. Improved Public Health
Drug busts can improve public health by reducing drug-related illnesses and deaths. Illegal drugs are associated with numerous health problems, including addiction, overdose, and infectious diseases.
4. Restoration of Community Trust
Drug busts can restore community trust in law enforcement agencies. Communities that have been affected by drug-related problems often lose trust in law enforcement agencies. By conducting drug busts, law enforcement agencies can demonstrate their commitment to protecting the public and restoring community trust.
Asset Forfeiture Laws in Combating Drug Trafficking
Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to seize the assets of individuals involved in drug trafficking. These assets include cash, vehicles, and property that were obtained through illegal means or used to facilitate drug-related activities.
The use of asset forfeiture laws has been an effective tool for law enforcement agencies in combating drug trafficking. By seizing the assets of individuals involved in drug trafficking, law enforcement agencies can disrupt the financial infrastructure of drug cartels and limit their ability to continue their operations.
Furthermore, asset forfeiture laws provide a significant source of revenue for law enforcement agencies. The funds obtained from seized assets can be used to support ongoing investigations and anti-drug initiatives.
However, there have been concerns about the abuse of asset forfeiture laws by law enforcement agencies. Critics argue that these laws are often used to target innocent individuals and disproportionately affect communities of color. It is crucial for law enforcement agencies to ensure that asset forfeiture laws are used appropriately and with transparency to avoid any potential abuses.
The Role of Community Policing in Reducing Drug-Related Crime
Community policing is a law enforcement strategy that emphasizes building relationships between police officers and the communities they serve. It involves proactive engagement with community members to identify and address issues affecting their safety and well-being. In the context of drug-related crime, community policing can play a significant role in reducing drug availability and related problems.
One way community policing can reduce drug-related crime is by improving communication between law enforcement agencies and community members. By working together, law enforcement agencies can gain valuable information about drug-related activities in the community, which can help them target their efforts more effectively.
Additionally, community policing can promote trust between law enforcement agencies and community members. This trust can encourage individuals to come forward with information about drug-related activities without fear of retaliation or stigma.
Another way community policing can reduce drug-related crime is by addressing the underlying social issues that contribute to drug use and addiction. For example, poverty, lack of education, and unemployment are all factors that increase the likelihood of individuals turning to drugs as a means of coping or making ends meet. By working with other organizations in the community to address these issues, law enforcement agencies can reduce the demand for illegal drugs.
Overall, community policing is an essential tool for reducing drug-related crime. By building relationships with community members, promoting trust, and addressing underlying social issues, law enforcement agencies can work together with communities to create safer environments for everyone.
The Effectiveness of Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs in Reducing Drug Addiction and Related Crimes
While drug busts are an effective way to combat drug-related crimes, they do not address the root cause of the problem - drug addiction. It is essential to provide individuals struggling with addiction with access to treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Research has shown that treatment and rehabilitation programs can be effective in reducing drug addiction and related crimes. These programs focus on addressing the underlying issues that contribute to drug addiction, such as mental health problems, trauma, and social isolation.
Treatment programs may include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), individual or group therapy, and support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. Rehabilitation programs may involve vocational training, education, and life skills development.
By providing individuals with access to these programs, law enforcement agencies can reduce the demand for illegal drugs and prevent relapse among those in recovery. Additionally, individuals who complete treatment and rehabilitation programs are less likely to engage in criminal activities related to drug use.
It is crucial for law enforcement agencies to work together with healthcare providers and community organizations to ensure that individuals struggling with addiction have access to these services. By focusing on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, we can create a society where drug-related crimes are less prevalent, and individuals struggling with addiction can receive the help they need.
The Time Is Now
The sooner that someone living with an addiction disorder embarks on the process of treatment, the sooner the individual as well as the entire family can begin to improve their quality of life. Because use of drugs and alcohol can have fatal consequences, it is important to engage with treatment as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the nature of the disease is often that the person who is in deep crisis does not necessarily recognize the severity of the risks they are taking each day. As a result, many family members opt to stage an intervention – a formal and honest discussion about the nature of addiction and how treatment can help.
Staging an intervention is not an impromptu event. Rather, it is recommended that the family member who would like to run the intervention – with or without a professional family mediator to assist – holds a planning session in advance that includes everyone who will take part with the exception of the person living with addiction. Here, everyone can “get on the same page” in terms of choosing what they will say to their loved one based on its ability to help that person recognize the need for immediate treatment. Many family members will explain how much things have changed, their favorite parts of the relationship prior to addiction, express a desire to see the person get better, and explain how things will change in terms of their support of the ongoing addiction if the person chooses not to get help.
It can be tough to say these words out loud and take a stand, but it can also be the moment that changes your loved one’s life.
In conclusion, drug busts are necessary to tackle the problem of illegal drugs. They have significant implications for individuals, communities, and society as a whole. By reducing the availability of illegal drugs, deterring others from engaging in drug-related activities, improving public health, and restoring community trust, drug busts contribute to a safer and healthier society. It is essential to support law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat the illegal drug trade.