California’s Interstate 5 A Major Drug Trafficking Corridor

Article Contents

I-5 Drug Trafficking Corridor

Article Contents

Interstate 5 is a major stretch of highway that runs from the border of Mexico, through California, Oregon and Washington State, and into Canada. The road is heavily used by the American trucking industry, whose drivers haul everything from produce to electronics. As a result, the I-5 is an integral part of the commerce and logistics of the West Coast. Unfortunately, the highway also plays a major role in the black market transportation and distribution on illicit drugs.

Drug Trafficking on Interstate 5

The manufacturing of drugs such as cocaine, heroin and ecstasy often takes place outside of the United States. However, citizens of the United States make up the world’s largest group of consumers of illicit drugs. In fact, an estimated 19 million people in the United States have used illegal drugs. Cartels and drug producers need to get their products to customers in the United States, and will often transport these drugs into the country using airplanes, boats and trucks. Given the convenience and logistical perks of the I-5, it is only natural that drug traffickers also use this road for shipping and distributing their illegal products.

The California I-5 Drug Corridor

The I-5 connects 6 National High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA):

  • The Northwest HIDTA
  • The Oregon HIDTA
  • The Northern California HIDTA
  • The California Central Valley HIDTA
  • The Los Angeles HIDTA
  • The Southwest Border HIDTA

The 3 HIDTA in California act as supply hubs to the rest of the West Coast, and the majority of illicit drugs that Californians consume are distributed from these locations. The drugs transported through these HIDTA are usually sent to supply drugs to nearby major cities. However, the abundance and flow of drugs through these hub locations has had devastating effects on nearby cities, suburbs and rural communities.

How Drug Trafficking Affects Northern California Communities

The Northern California HIDTA primarily supplies the San Francisco and Bay areas, transporting in methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs. Unfortunately, these drugs have slowly been moving from urban centers to outlying towns. This accounts for the large surge of drug abuse and addiction in rural areas outside the Bay area like Salinas, Gilroy, Monterey and Stockton. Traditionally, these areas have seen very few cases of addiction and drug-related crime compared to the major cities. Greater use of Interstate 5 as a drug trafficking corridor, however, has resulted in an increased availability of drugs in nearly every county in Northern California. The state has also seen record numbers of residents seeking treatment for addiction.

Substance Abuse Along Interstate 5

Small towns along the interstate are now being targeted as regional hubs for distribution following the increased use of opioids, methamphetamine and heroin in these rural areas. In Merced County, cartels have established distribution centers to feed drugs to towns such as Los Banos, Merced, Turlock, Hollister and San Lucas. Lower level dealers have relocated to these towns to spread access to drugs even further and build up a “customer base” of users across county lines. This extended distribution network has increased the accessibility of drugs to people in even the most remote parts of Central and Northern California. These areas are so remote that the local population has limited options for recovery and addiction treatment.

Addiction Treatment In Rural Northern California

Access to illegal drugs has expanded so rapidly in Northern California that state-funded programs and healthcare clinics are struggling to keep up. Treatment facilities have become overwhelmed by the influx of individuals that are in need of detox and addiction treatment. With the ever-growing need for professional and comprehensive addiction treatment in Northern California’s rural corners, Elevate Addiction Service extends a caring hand to those rural Californians who are unable to receive the treatment they need in in their own communities.  

What Elevate Addiction Services Offers

At Elevate Addiction Services, we are happy to accept guests to our programs from anywhere in the United States, including rural California. We offer our prospective guests a unique holistic-based approach to treatment that is flexible and can be tailored to each individual’s particular needs. Our main residential location in the Santa Cruz Mountains offers a retreat for those recovering and healing, with amenities and personalized therapies that teach clients how to confront their addictions and live without drugs or alcohol. Our full continuum of care extends from intervention and detox through a 90-day inpatient recovery program. Our clients also receive comprehensive aftercare services and alumni support to help our guests on the road to recovery.

Addictions have literally been trafficked into our California communities. We at Elevate want to help those that have been affected by offering a true hope for long-lasting recovery. Contact us today, and we can begin building an individualized recovery plan. We can also answer questions about transportation to our facility from any of the surrounding California counties or from outside the state.

This page does not provide medical advice.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Questions About Treatment?

Elevate Rehab offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

Treatment Resources

Popular treatment programs