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Hey Drug Traffickers, Don’t Mess with Texas!
Heroin use has become such an epidemic in Texas that Drug Enforcement Administration officials have taken the fight to the streets – but not in the way you’re thinking. The DEA is using highway and interstate billboards to try and crack down on the drug traffickers transporting and selling heroin.
Getting the Message Out
The heroin billboards are being shown across North Texas on a rotating basis, urging community members to anonymously report any illegal drug activity. Options to report by phone, text or e-mail are all listed on them. The billboards tie in with a Heroin Initiative Task Force that that the DEA has worked on with several law enforcement agencies throughout the state over the last year.
“Our focus is not necessarily on the user,” said Daniel Salter, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Dallas Field Division.
“We want them to get help, but we want their information, so that we can identify their sources of supply, their distributors that are selling this poison to our communities. It’s a message that needs to get out to the parents, and quite frankly the educators and the politicians, and everybody that will listen, that this is something we can’t take lightly.”
It’s a message that needs to get out to the parents, and quite frankly the educators and the politicians…-Daniel Salter
Breaking Heroin’s Hold on Texas
North Texas previously gained national attention after “cheese,” a heroin-based recreational drug, led to several adolescent deaths in the Dallas-Fort Worth area between 2005 and 2007. The cheese heroin – a mixture of Mexican black tar heroin cut with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol PM or Nyquil – has negative physical and mental effects on users. It’s cheap, costing about $2 per hit, and children as young as nine years old were reportedly using the drug.
However, the state is also using slightly more controversial methods to crack down on drug use. A new bill was filed last November that will make drug testing a requirement for anyone receiving government assistance. Sen. Jane Nelson (R), a supporter of the bill, said that “taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize someone’s drug habit.”
The state senate already passed a bill in April 2013 that requires welfare applicants to fill out a questionnaire and screening assessment regarding their risk for drug use. Anyone deemed a risk would be required to pass a drug test, as well as anyone with a previously failed drug test or felony drug conviction. A positive test would result in the applicant being barred from collecting benefits for a year, but they could reapply in six months if after completing a substance abuse treatment program.
Learn more about treatment for heroin addiction and the recovery process.
Image Credits: MySouthTex