(NewsNation) — Roxanne Ira manages an addiction treatment center in Yuma, Arizona. They’re so busy, they’re trying to find a bigger building to handle the demand. Each day, they’re meeting Americans struggling with addiction.
“A lot of times they say, ‘I tried it one time, and I can’t get off.’” Ira said.
Millions of pounds of drugs pour into the U.S. each year with drug smugglers going to great lengths. A total of 15 tons of cocaine has been picked up in international waters so far this year.
As for fentanyl, authorities say almost all of it is coming over the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 2,400 pounds have been picked up there through March of this year. That’s up 17 percent compared to the same time span in 2021.
And it’s not just fentanyl. Texas State troopers snagged 486 pounds of marijuana from drug traffickers caught in a car chase just last week. And this past Friday, $145,000 wroth of cocaine was picked up at the Del Rio port of entry.
Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls deals with the border crisis constantly as 1,000 migrants cross through every day. Border Patrol agents are busy processing them, and Nicholls says that opens avenues elsewhere for drugs to make their way into the U.S.
“The drug stories are heartbreaking to hear in our community. But really, it’s a pass through to the rest of the country. And it should concern every American citizen,” Nicholls said.
Ira sees America’s drug crisis up close as it destroys families and communities: Rich, poor, old and young.
“You get parents that aren’t familiar with it. They don’t know what to do. We even have… young adults, you know, sometimes they come in on their 18th birthday for services,” Ira said.
What’s the solution? Law enforcement officers in the area say more resources are needed — more boots on the ground to secure the border more efficiently with more manpower — and second, more prosecution of drug traffickers.