Drugs of Abuse
Drugs, Chemicals & Dangerous Substances
The use of various chemicals and substances in our daily lives can treat illnesses, disease, change our mood and affect our behavior. Although some substances such as caffeine are taken by a large segment of our society other substances pose a health danger to the individual and to society as a whole. Substance abuse, the misuse of legal, illegal drugs and medications is a predominant cause of preventable illness and death in our society. By far, alcohol is the most readily available and most abused drug in the United States today.
Controlling Illegal Activity
The Napa Special Investigations Bureau (NSIB) is charged with controlling illegal drug manufacturing and drug sales within Napa County. Over the years NSIB has found that use is based upon four main factors.
- Price: The price of an illegal drug can cause a drug to fall out of favor sending the buyer to seek other drugs. In Napa County prices for illegal drugs have remained relatively stable.
- Availability: the ease at which someone can purchase drugs is also a deciding factor. NSIB has had a decided impact on this factor. Most of the drug sales are clandestine and not openly sold on the streets as found in most cities in California. Although we have not been as successful in eliminating the availability we have forced the drug seller underground.
- Preference: Choosing one drug over another. It is a choice in which the buyer once involved with a drug will generally not abandon. Napa County has a large marijuana and methamphetamine preference as represented by the drug seizures each year. However, drugs such as crack cocaine, ecstasy, GHB, and Ketamine have never taken on a strong presence in Napa County.
- Age Some drugs target or are favored young people. Marijuana, methamphetamine, and hallucinogens, are common substances as is the use of inhalants in reviewing drug arrests of juveniles. Drugs such as heroin and cocaine are rarely found with minors in part due to the unavailability and cost.
The cost of legal and illegal drug abuse to Napa County is substantial. When factoring in drug related crimes, diseases, injuries, property and productivity losses, the dollar amount is staggering. The impact of substance abuse has created an industry of drug testing companies and rehabilitation centers. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation four out of every ten prisoners released on parole return due to drug and alcohol violations. Drug arrests have continued to rise over the past decade and show no signs of slowing. To date, education has been the best preventative and cheapest way to address this problem.