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Teen Arrested for Smuggling Cocaine in Texas Could Get 40 Years

Studies touted by government experts last year prove that abuse of cocaine and methamphetamine has decreased. Cocaine abuse is down 40 percent, and methamphetamine use is happening only half as often as it once did. However, if you are among the many people still using one of those drugs—or if you know someone who is—those figures aren’t very comforting.

Just in March, people using cocaine in Texas were biting their nails over a decreased supply when a 16-year-old girl was arrested for smuggling 50 pounds of cocaine into El Paso from Mexico. Sure, our government experts tell us; cocaine production is down by 3 percent in this country. But when you hear about a shipment like that coming into the country, it has to make you wonder about the ones that police didn’t manage to stop.

Just how much is 50 pounds of cocaine worth?  It sells for about $9,000 a pound in South America, but here in the good old USA, that amount of cocaine in Texas or New York or anywhere is possibly worth $30,000. Once dealers get it on this side of the border, they cut it about five or six times. The ultimate value of the product depends on how many times it’s been stepped on and whether it’s sold as injectable product or just as crack rocks.  Officials estimated its real worth at anywhere between $280,000 and $700,000.

The teenager who brought the cocaine into Texas faces a stiff penalty if prosecutors get their way. The county attorney requested clearance to prosecute her under the Determinate Sentencing Statute that’s on the books in that state. If approved and if the girl is found guilty, her punishment could be set for years beyond the day she turns 21: The maximum punishment could be 40 years.

A team of medical professionals and educators, however, hope to overturn the grand jury’s approval to apply the Determinate Sentencing Statute. They feel that putting this girl away for so many years will rob her of any kind of normal life, and that she is young enough to benefit from a substance abuse rehabilitation program.

Why is the county attorney set on prosecuting this girl with such a stiff sentence? He wants to send a message to people who smuggle marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine in Texas because they think it’s a fast way to make easy bucks. The county juvenile court reports that 14 minors have been arrested for smuggling in a controlled substance over the course of the last seven years.

Why are teens such a target for dealers who want to smuggle drugs into Texas, New Mexico, or other border states? Are the teens jumping at such a fun opportunity because they see it as an easy way to get high?  Or are they taken advantage of by adults who want to use them because they think that these kids, if arrested, will get off with just a slap on the wrist?

Despite reportedly lower figures on cocaine abuse, there are still frightening numbers of people who use it. Brain scans performed on three dozen cocaine addicts compared with scans performed on alcoholics demonstrated them to be more motivated to use when presented with drug-related scenarios. The study, done at Yale School of Medicine, also showed that women benefit more from stress reduction therapies, while men respond to cognitive behavioral therapy.

Finding the right substance abuse treatment center can play a huge role in your success at beating an addiction to cocaine or any substance.  Treatment just gets started when you quit using your drug of choice; it must include addressing triggers and psychosocial reasons for using, among other factors. It’s important to undertake therapy at a place that addresses the whole person and takes them beyond addiction to find a place of renewal.

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