MIDLAND, Texas — Eddy Lozoya by no means failed a drug check within the three years he hauled water and sand throughout the West Texas oil patch, regardless that he used no less than $200 a day in cocaine to maintain his eyes open on brutally lengthy days behind the wheel of a Kenworth T600 semi-truck.
The Houston Chronicle studies Lozoya, like his fellow truckers, discovered methods to beat the checks and hold driving. Incomes six-determine salaries, they consumed cocktails of medicine to push themselves to their bodily limits on journeys between scattered drilling websites that would final 36 to forty eight consecutive hours. They might drive their 35-ton automobiles in tight, single-file formations, blowing air horns when the sleepiest amongst them started drifting off the street.
“We all the time had cocaine,” he stated.
Lozoya, a recovering addict at 23, is among the many hundreds of oil subject staff who’ve succumbed to the combination of cash, boredom and medicines that always accompanies power booms. Drillers of all sizes have poured billions of dollars into the prolific Permian Basin this yr, rebuilding operations after a two-yr oil bust that devastated the area. However for all of the financial advantages of the business’s excessive-paying jobs, the oil rush once more is bankrolling an increasing marketplace for unlawful medicine.
Regulation enforcement officers say drug trafficking, drug abuse and drug-associated crimes have spiked in recent times, proof that power’s growth-and-bust cycles have had monumental social penalties in West Texas. Inside a small Nazarene church in Midland, transformed a decade in the past right into a drug and alcohol habit remedy middle, the variety of individuals looking for assistance is on monitor to greater than double from final yr.
Some 1,200 individuals have come by means of the doorways of the Palmer Drug Abuse Program within the first six months of the yr, one in 5 of them underneath 18.
“We’re dropping a era of youngsters to medicine and alcohol,” stated Michele Savage, the longtime director of this system.
Lozoya is aware of medicine of all types are straightforward to seek out right here. After an damage left him unable to drive business vans, he discovered one other profitable trucking route, this time transporting narcotic ache drugs and different medicine from his residence state of California to West Texas. Right here, he stated, sellers can promote cocaine, marijuana and opioids for 2 or 3 times the worth in neighboring states due to the…