Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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Look closely at this map of NYS.

NYS HIDTA map fixed

NYS counties designated as a “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area” (HIDTA)

You’re looking at the drug war being waged against us by drug cartels south of the border (Mexico, Central America, South America), Afghanistan (the so-called Golden Crescent), and SE Asia’s Golden Triangle of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand.  A global narcotics super-economy with annual revenues in the $500 billion stratosphere.  Staggering as it is, experts concede that $500 billion is almost certainly a lowball figure.

855px-HeroinWorld-en fixed

You’re looking at a $500-billion-reason why Charles Gardner (Rep.) should be Malone’s next municipal judge.

New York has 17 counties officially designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) by the NY/NJ HIDTA Drug Trends Group (DTG) in a report funded by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, operating out of the White House.  The report is titled “Threat Assessment 2015.”

“High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.”  Roll the phrase around on your tongue for awhile.  (Go ahead, let yourself get angry.)  Nowadays wars are fought with more than just bullets and bombs.  This one is a shadow war fought chiefly with small plastic bags with white powder inside.  A war of white powder and hypodermic needles.

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NYS has one of the highest number of HIDTA counties in the nation, neck and neck with W. Virginia (Appalachia — coal country — crushingly poor), New Mexico (at the receiving end of a torrent of drugs from our friends south of the border), yet trailing Kentucky & Tennessee (Appalachia — coal — crushingly poor).  Texas, land of superlatives, eclipses the nation.  Texas is the Niagara Falls of drug importing.

Back to our Map of Death.  Notice the distribution of the 17 counties.  A cluster down around NYC and Long Island spilling over into NJ.  Then a cluster in the North Country, in fact the entire North Country, in a wide sweep from L. Ontario to L. Champlain.  Our porous border with Canada.  Not just porous, but liquid.  The St. Lawrence, a cinch for freighters to offload illicit cargo on dark nights.  A cinch for speedboats from Ontario & Quebec to NYS.

The “Threat Assessment 2015” focuses on heroin, Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPD’s), crack/cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and assorted others, including what are hilariously called bath salts (whose effects are anything but hilarious).  It covers drug overdose deaths, money laundering, gangs and cartels, drug-inspired crime, and finishes off with an educated prognosis for what lies ahead.

What lies ahead is not encouraging.  To give you a flavor of what I mean by “not encouraging,” let me list several recent articles in the NY Times — articles addressing more or less our “neck of the woods,” as the saying goes.

Heroin in New England:  More Abundant and Deadly” (July 2013)

Heroin Scourge Overtakes a Quaint Vermont Town [Bennington]” (March 2014)

A Call to Arms on a Vermont Heroin Epidemic” (February 2014)

The Heroin Epidemic, in Vermont and Beyond” (March 2014)

Heroin’s New Hometown [Staten Island]” (May 2014)

Heroin eclipses the rest.  It’s cheap, abundantly available, deadly, and appallingly addictive.  (Satan himself could not have dreamed up a more perfect economic model:  cheap, abundant, hyper-addictive.)  Overdoses are common — and unforgiving, as the deaths described in the above articles confirm.  (Bear in mind, heroin is rarely pure.  Often adulterated by dealers.  But, adulterated with what?  Remember, the narcotics industry is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration; we’re not talking “granola bars.”)

Because of NYS’s year-old I-Stop law, the abuse and diversion of Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPD’s) has dropped dramatically.  This is the good news.  The bad news is that CPD addicts have switched from Rx pills to heroin — again cheap, easy to get, and immediately transfixing with a sensational (though fleeting) high.

Medical syringe isolated over a white background.

Then follows the craving.  Every single cell in your body — screaming for another hit.  Screaming day and night.  Once hooked, users have no choice but to feed the addiction.  Sooner or later this translates into theft.  To get cash.  “If it’s not nailed down, steal it,” becomes the mantra.  

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