Drug Use Spikes in Eagle Ford Shale Counties

Since the Eagle Ford oil boom began in South Texas, drug arrests in Dimmit, La Salle, and Frio counties have skyrocketed, according to a recent report in The Austin American Statesman. Experts say the increase in arrests has been fueled by an influx of well-paid workers chasing the shale oil boom. Since 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates 43,000 people have moved to the Eagle Ford region in South Texas.

In Frio County, statistics provided by the local sheriff's office indicate 315 drug-related arrests were made in 2013. That's an astounding increase of 500% from 2011, when only 63 arrests  were made.

In neighboring Dimmit and La Salle counties, drug-related arrests have also been on the rise. In 2013, Dimmit County had 104 drug-related arrests, which was an increase of 263% from 2008. In La Salle County, 73 drug-related arrests were made in 2013. Law enforcement officials indicate that the arrests account for only a fraction of offenders.

Hospital officials in the region have also seen an increase in drug use cases, and injuries stemming from drug-related violence. Rural areas in particular have been affected due to a lack of adequate resources.

The South Texas area encompassing the Eagle Ford Shale has long been a corridor for the Mexican drug cartels to funnel their product into the United States. Law enforcement officials say the geography and infrastructure in the Eagle Ford make it easy for drug runners to operate.

Read more at statesman.com