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US Drug Supply Routes

While most Americans are well aware of the significant substance abuse and addiction problems in the country, very few understand that it takes a massive effort to get these drugs to the users – and that there seems to be a growing number of users who are eager to fund these operations. Drug supply routes transverse nearly every area of the US map, with major routes spinning off into secondary routes and people transporting drugs by land, air and sea using all means available to them. Understanding the full scope of these drug supply routes makes it easy to comprehend why it’s no problem for most people to quickly – and cheaply – get the drugs that feed their addictions.

According to the US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center, the total number of overland drug routes in 2009 vastly outnumbered the total sea and air routes, with nearly 1.6 million by land, 24,737 by sea and 12,413 by air. (1) Most of these routes supply huge networks within the country itself, but the majority of the drug supplies actually originate in Mexico and Canada. Mexican drug cartels move more than 90% of the US total cocaine supply, and Canada now accounts for a significant percentage of the high potency marijuana smuggled into the country. (Mexico is also still the number one supplier of marijuana to the US)

US drug supply routes have been studied extensively, but despite significant law enforcement efforts, tons of drugs slip through tight controls every year. The 2006 National Drug Threat Assessment found that there are 8 primary drug smuggling corridors in the United States – half of which are primarily supplied by Mexico. These routes consist of:

  • Southern California, along the southern states and into the northeast
  • Southern California along the middle of the country all the way to the New York border
  • From Canada along the northern states and down into Chicago
  • From Mexico along the entire California border, through Oregon and Washington and into Canada
  • From central Mexico through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada
  • From the Gulf of Mexico up through the center of the country
  • From the Caribbean through Florida, to the east of the Mississippi and into Chicago
  • From the Caribbean all the way up the east coast to Maine and Canada (2)

Despite the fact that these routes are well known and heavily patrolled, it’s likely that only a small percentage of the total drugs transported along these corridors are ever found and seized. Drug enforcement authorities have stated that this is due in large part to shifts not only in drug trafficking routes, but also in the types of drugs being moved through a particular corridor. The US Department of Justice states that: “Some smuggling routes and methods for transporting cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States appear to have shifted, in part because of heightened law enforcement pressure, changes in drug production trends, and evolving market dynamics.” (1)

Authorities are also concerned that these drug smuggling routes may be used for even more dangerous purposes – terrorism. In fact, a 2009 article in the Washington Times indicates that the Hezbollah group has been using Mexican drug smuggling routes to get their operatives into the United States. (3) While this group is not generally thought to have intentions to do harm to American interests, the fear is that eventually other groups might.

If you are feeding an addiction, then it’s likely you’re also feeding the profit engine of the people responsible for these drug trade routes. Be a part of the solution not only for your country, but for YOU. Call the number at the top of your screen now to speak to an addiction professional who can guide you in making the right decisions, right now. We offer one of the country’s most successful inpatient treatment programs and alcohol addiction recovery solutions. Call us now, and start the rest of your life today.

(1) National Drug Intelligence Center Drug Movement Into and Within the United States
(2) National Drug Intelligence Center Drug Transportation Corridors
(3) The Washington Times Hezbollah Uses Mexican Drug Routes Into US 03/27/2009

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More