Drug rehab has been a necessity in the Midwest for decades. Illinois itself has long been the Midwestern haven for both foreign and domestic DTOs. Chicago has acted as the region’s major trading port, due to its convenient location and accessibility via public transportation. Illicit drugs have always been a problem in the area, going back as far as when the first organized crime elements settled there at the turn of the nineteenth century. The state’s many highways and various points of entry have made it an ideal location for drug cartels from all around the world to apply their craft. The number of Illinois drug and alcohol rehab centers has dramatically increased over the years in response to this problem. Despite the best efforts of local law enforcement, federal intervention has been needed to help the state deal with its rampant substance abuse problem, which has brought with it poverty, violence, danger and urban decay. The need for drug and alcohol rehab centers spans all economic, social and cultural blocs, and has gotten more urgent as more new drugs continue to flood the market. Controlled mainly by Mexican organizations and other domestic elements, the Illinois drug trade is one of the biggest in the country, and definitely the biggest in the Midwest.
Illinois drug rehab patients have reported addiction to almost every concievable drug. In recent years, there has been a huge proliferation of prescription addiction in Illinois, however some of the other major threats include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, crystal meth and what are known as “club drugs”. The state is consistently facing new threats, and has been only marginally successful in battling the old ones. In addition to the Mexican and domestic interests currently dominating the Midwest illicit drug landscape, there are new factions jockeying for power every day, such as the Colombians, Jamaicans, Asians and Nigerians. This often leads to bloody turf-wars, and has brought down a deluge of crime such as prostitution, loan-sharking, assault and even murder. The only real viable solution to the problem is to cut the head off the snake, and create a dual-purpose environment of treatment and enforcement. This will ensure that elements that continue to traffic illicit drugs into the state will be punished, while those they’ve manipulated into addiction are afforded the help they need.
Marijuana continues to be the most commonly abused drug in Illinois, and is abused in conjunction with other drugs such as cocaine and heroin. It’s not uncommon for addicts to start on marijuana and graduate to other more lethal drugs, making marijuana a serious threat to the state’s citizens. Controlled primarily by Mexican DTOs, Marijuana is also grown in garden apartments and in some of the state’s rural areas, adding to the problem considerably. Marijuana in Illinois is moved and distributed mainly via ground transportation. Cartels take advantage of the trucking industry as well as the state’s major highways to move their product. Each region has its own governing cell that controls the local trade.
As is the case with most other drugs, cocaine is brought into Chicago by foreign elements in large quantities and chopped up for statewide dissemination. Chicago also operates as a cocaine transit center for New York and Pennsylvania markets. Both crack and powder cocaine have claimed the lives of a tragically high number of Illinois’s citizens, and continue to breed a culture of poverty, desperation and illegal activity. What is so tragic about the cocaine problem in Illinois is just how many of the state’s children it claims. The population of addicts is getting younger and younger, with some abusers being no older than 12. These numbers have emerged as a result of the decades-old booming Illinois cocaine trade, which has infiltrated all of the state's shipping and transportation avenues. Cocaine addiction is one of the most serious threats facing the state.
With a number of different international elements now funneling the powerful opiate into the state, heroin abuse is one of the dominant problems in the Midwest illegal drug war. Historically controlled primarily through Mexican interests, Asian, Jamaican and Nigerian gangs are now also major players in the Illinois heroin trade. Colombians have also established a dominant presence in Chicago, specifically. Although heroin has decreased in both price and quality, it remains one of the most commonly abused drugs in the state. The decrease in quality does not render the drug any less addictive. Illinois is unique in the heroin arena, as it is a target for all major source areas. It is the sitting duck of the Midwest, and has lost countless citizens to addiction and fatality. Heroin addiction and abuse have become so commonplace that one of the primary means of sales is right out in open-air markets. Once confined to the inner cities, it’s now invaded the suburbs and other surrounding areas.
Methamphetamine, or “crystal meth," is another drug smuggled in primarily through Mexico. There is also a prodigious subculture of domestic meth laboratories in the state’s suburbs and urban areas. What is especially dangerous about methamphetamines is the violent criminal element that controls the trade. Abused by all of Illinois’s blocs from overworked professionals to middle-class teenagers to those living in abject poverty, methamphetamine has been the subject of an increasing number of federal seizures over the past ten years. The recent federal raids have forced domestic production to spread to the most unexpected areas, including the state’s farms and even some of its smaller businesses. Abusers start as early as the age of 13 and grow dependent after a very short time, usually a month. The horrific and detrimental consequences of methamphetamine abuse mandate more treatment facilities in the areas where it is most prevalent.
From the college or professional athlete who spirals out of control from abuse of a legitimate prescription to the overworked professional who unwittingly relies on sleeping pills to function to the curious teenager who steals their parents’ supply, prescription drug abuse has spanned all cultures and peoples to grow into a bona fide threat to the state’s citizens. The most commonly abused prescription drugs in Illinois include Vicodin, hydrocodone, Oxycontin and Xanax. The fact that these drugs are sold via the internet, often from countries where prescriptions are not necessary makes the problem exponentially worse. Another common cause of this impending epidemic is the practice of unscrupulous, or perhaps incompetent physicians who irresponsibly prescribe or illegally supply patients with the drugs.
The youth population and the innumerable colleges of Illinois have given birth to a startling culture of abuse of what are called club drugs. Used primarily to describe MDMA (molly), GHB and LSD, the term “club drug” refers to the rave culture in which the drugs are overwhelmingly abused. This appeals mainly to Illinois’s youth, and has recently begun to invade the state’s student population. Once confined to the state’s nightclubs and bar scene, suburban youth, and even younger professionals, have started heavily abusing these substances. The rise in the addicted population combined with the devastation of which these drugs are capable makes the establishment of more treatment centers an urgent matter for Illinois. While not as large of problem as other drugs in the state, without enforcement and treatment to stem the tide of proliferation, club drug abuse will likely get much worse.
Illinois remains a state that suffers from an identity crisis with regard to its illegal drug problem. On one hand you have factions lobbying heavily for enforcement and treatment. On the other, you have a criminal element fiercely committed to the spread and continued sales of illicit substances, due to the role such activities play in their survival. Combine this with Illinois’s continued status as the Midwest focal point of international drug trafficking, and you have an immediate need for the establishment of more drug and alcohol rehab centers.