Rhode Island Drug Use

In the small state of Rhode Island, drug use and abuse is no less of a problem than in any of the larger states. According to the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), cocaine is the primary drug of choice in Rhode Island. Purity levels generally range from 50-90%, creating a potent substance. Rhode Island is thought to be a point of distribution for the whole New England area, with main services running to Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. The cocaine originates from trade at the Mexican border. The shipments reach the state via legitimate goods transportation on tractor-trailers. Once there, the cocaine is distributed primarily by Colombian and Dominican traffickers. A large portion of the cocaine purchased in Rhode Island is then transported to New York for circulation by individual dealers.

Beside cocaine, heroin is also widely available in Little Rhodey. Purity levels range from 34-49%, and most of the heroin is Colombian in origin. However, in 2007, black tar heroin was designated by law enforcement officers for the first time. Other drugs, such as methamphetamines, are not readily available in the state. MDMA, or Ecstasy, and GHB are available in major cities such as Providence and at rave parties through the state. Marijuana is readily available as well. Most marijuana comes to Rhode Island from Mexico; however, "hydroponic" strains also exist and generally come from Canada. Most of the marijuana entering the Ocean State comes in through commercial airlines and parcel carriers. The most common pharmaceutical substance abused in the state is OxyCotin, obtained through fraudulent prescriptions, doctor shopping, and pharmacy break-ins.

To counteract the drug problems in the state, the DEA formed a cooperative program with local law enforcement agencies in 1995. Since the union of agencies began, 18,318 arrests have been made. In addition, DEA Regional Enforcement teams work in the state to fight drug trafficking organizations. Law enforcement officials target major interstate routes such as Route 95, which links Rhode Island with New York, Bridgeport, and Boston. As most of the illegal drugs are in the Schedule I of Federal drug classifications, stiff penalies await users who get caught by law enforcement. Drug possession charges indicate one had illegal substances in his or her possession, either for personal use, distribution, or sale. Higher penalies await those who choose to distribute or sell the substances. To be charged with distribution, one must sell, furnish, or deliver the illegal substance to another person. Distribution charges typically result when the substance is found in large quantities, or when accompanied by materials such as scales, bags for distributing, or chemicals to create the drug.