One arrest was made when police in Arlington, Texas, found what they believe to be more than 72,000 Xanax pills in addition to 22 pounds of hydro marijuana, four handguns, and a load of cash, according to WFAA8.
The drug bust took place at an apartment complex on the 1700 block of Saddle Creek Circle, in the home of Duc Chi Ta, 24. A search warrant was granted when a maintenance work found a “large amount of green leafy substance” during a maintenance inspection and sent a picture of it to the apartment manager. This warrant led to what Arlington Police are calling the largest pill bust in their department’s history.
Lt. Chris Cook of the Arlington Police Department says that if Ta had been a little more alert in terms of the coming maintenance schedule that was planned and advertised throughout the complex, the bust likely would never have happened.
Said Cook: “This was kind of luck. He had the maintenance letter crumbled up in his trash can.”
Possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana between 5 and 50 pounds were the two felony charges for Ta. He posted his $50,000 bond after being booked and is awaiting trial.
Getting Drugs off the Street
The removal of more than 72,000 Xanax pills from the Texas black market is significant, as is the removal of 20 pounds of illegal marijuana. But is it enough to make a noticeable dent in the overdose rates and ongoing addiction across the state?
Not even close. Though this is a significant amount of drugs and a seizure that will certainly have an impact locally, in the big picture, far more needs to be done. While getting drugs off the street in general is one way to impact the availability of substances and may in fact save lives, the real change needs to occur on an individual basis and at the community level. When there is no demand, the supply will dwindle.
Lowering the Demand
The only way to cut the demand for illicit drugs in Arlington and across Texas is to increase prevention efforts to stop new cases of drug abuse and addiction while also increasing treatment availability. This two-pronged approach is the best way to effect long-lasting change, but it is not a simple process. Often, this involves a number of different initiatives in a community, including:
- Stigma reduction: When the community views addiction and drug use as a moral failing, people who struggle with the disorder may be less likely to open up about it or even self-identify as having the problem. They may also be less likely to talk to their doctor about associated issues or discuss the problem with their families and seek treatment. In short, a judgmental community can be a huge obstacle to recovery for those in need of care.
- Increased treatment facilities: In many parts of Texas, there are few programs available to treat people struggling with addiction. As a result, many avoid dealing with the problem or attempt to treat themselves using books, willpower, and/or free local 12-Step meetings. Unfortunately, none of these serves to address the medical needs of someone living with the disorder of addiction, and the end result is almost always relapse.
- Lowered cost of treatment: Making treatment more affordable is another essential piece to connecting people in need with treatment that will help them to heal. This begins with increased government funding for treatment and continues with health insurance reform with the goal of ensuring that all who need coverage for care have access to insurance providers who will assist them.
- Prevention efforts in the schools: Helping kids to understand the dangers associated even with “experimentation” of illegal or legal substances is essential in helping as many young people as possible avoid the accidents and lifelong addiction issues that can develop even from one-time or occasional use during the teen years.
- Education about drug use dangers for parents: Parents, too, need a stronger understanding of what is out there, what their kids are facing, and how to help them avoid making potentially fatal or life-changing mistakes. Additionally, if parents are struggling with an addiction disorder themselves, then increased education can help them to identify the problem and connect with appropriate treatment services.
- Increased education for prescribing physicians: Prescribing physicians often do not have the directed training necessary to help patients first attempt to address pain with nonaddictive treatment measures. Helping general practitioners to have a better understanding of the risks associated with painkiller use and maintaining close supervision of patients who do take the medications can help to limit the number of new cases of addiction and increase early identification and treatment for those who develop a substance use disorder.
Connecting with Treatment
If someone you care about is struggling with a drug abuse or addiction problem, reach out to Greenhouse today to learn more about potential treatment options.