Oil and drugs: A toxic mix

MIDLAND – Eddy Lozoya never failed a drug trial in the three years he hauled water and backbone across the West Texas vegetable oil plot, even though he used at least $ 200 a day in cocaine to keep his eyes open on viciously farseeing days behind the wheel of a Kenworth T600 semi-truck. Lozoya, like his boyfriend truckers, found ways to beat the tests and keep drive. Earning six-figure salaries, they consumed cocktails of drugs to push themselves to their physical limits on trips between spread drill sites that could last 36 to 48 straight hours. They would drive their 35-ton vehicles in tight, single-file formations, blowing air horns when the sleepiest among them began drifting off the road. “ We constantly had cocaine, ” he said .

Lozoya, a recovering addict at 23, is among the thousands of anoint field workers who have succumbed to the shuffle of money, boredom and drugs that much accompanies energy booms. Drillers of all sizes have poured billions of dollars into the fecund permian Basin this year, rebuilding operations after a biennial anoint tear that devastated the region. But for all the economic benefits of the industry ‘s high-paying jobs, the vegetable oil rush again is bankrolling an expanding grocery store for illegal drugs .
Law enforcement officials say drug traffic, drug misuse and drug-related crimes have spiked in holocene years, attest that energy ‘s boom-and-bust cycles have had enormous social consequences in West Texas. Inside a humble Nazarene church in Midland, converted a decade ago into a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, the issue of people seeking help oneself is on cut to more than duplicate from last year .
Some 1,200 people have come through the doors of the Palmer Drug Abuse Program in the first six months of the class, one in five of them under 18 .
“ We ‘re losing a genesis of children to drugs and alcohol, ” said Michele Savage, the longtime director of the program .
Lozoya knows drugs of all kinds are easy to find hera. After an injury left him unable to drive commercial trucks, he found another lucrative hauling route, this time transporting narcotic annoyance medications and other drugs from his home country of California to West Texas. here, he said, dealers can sell cocaine, cannabis and opioids for two or three times the price in neighboring states because of the remote control location and the river of money flowing from the oil patch .
“ There ‘s a batch of net income to be made out here because it ‘s in such high demand, ” he said. “ People want it here, and they ‘ll pay for it. ”
‘Meth is booming ‘
While the U.S. opioid epidemic has captured home attention, the drug of choice in West Texas is methamphetamine, or quartz glass methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant oil field workers use to cope with long hours in the Texas heating system, and one that is increasingly supplied through mexican drug cartels, according to law enforcement officials. An psychoanalysis of data from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Houston oil field services party Baker Hughes found a strong correlation coefficient between the rise of drill natural process and the count of crystal methamphetamine seizures in the area surrounding the permian Basin. Between 2009 and 2016, as vegetable oil companies dispatched more rigs into West Texas, the total of methamphetamine seizures rose precipitously .
The carriage count ‘s average of 103 in 2009 increased more than fivefold by 2014, the extremum of the anoint boom. In the lapp period, Texas submit troopers saw methamphetamine seizures jump from 3 to 73, a 4,000 percentage increase in the dozens of counties encompassing the permian Basin .
CRS Diagnostic Service, a drug-testing party in Odessa, found the number of local workers who tested positive for methamphetamine in the first half of this year was more than three times higher than in the first half of 2009, shortly before the alleged shale oil revolution got afoot .
“ Meth is booming, ” said Craig Smith, a senior frailty president at the party .
For the oil industry, increased drug maltreatment in West Texas has exacerbated the struggle to find workers as they rebuild labor forces after far-flung layoffs during the holocene downturn. Patterson-UTI Energy, a Houston drill and hydraulic fracture contractor, has hired 4,000 people this year to fill jobs on rigs and fracking fleets, but more job applicants have failed drug tests this year than in 2014, said Diana Dotolo, the caller ‘s frailty president of human resources .

The Houston tauten recruits workers from around the United States, but for local companies without a nationally scope, the trouble is far worse. Dynamic Oilfield Services, an oil-equipment company based in Corpus Christi, has seen roughly one-half of its occupation applicants from West Texas fail drug tests this year, and most of its employees in the region are hired from other areas .
Decades ago, biker gangs made meth from phenyl-2-pronopol, which was outlawed in the United States in the 1980s. nowadays, mexican drug cartels dominate the commerce of methamphetamine, much transporting the message in fluid phase across the U.S.-Mexico border, stored in bogus gasoline tanks, ice tea bottles or windshield washer fluent reservoirs, jurisprudence enforcement officials said .
They take it to stash houses in places like Phoenix and Dallas before it reaches high-demand markets in West Texas, said Will Glaspy, extra agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency ‘s El Paso division .
“ Oil discipline workers are adult consumers of methamphetamine, ” Glaspy said. “ The mexican cartels are the biggest sources of provision. ”
Across the West Texas and New Mexico counties that encompass the permian Basin, the DEA has seized 2,200 pounds of meth since October 2015, more than ternary the come confiscated in between October 2011 and September 2013. stopping point class, the agency seized 66 pounds of methamphetamine in the Midland area, compared with 11 pounds in 2012 .
“ When the petroleum price is up, there ‘s more methamphetamine in our entire community, ” said Steve Thomason, executive director at the Springboard Center, an alcohol and drug treatment facility in Midland. It ‘s not uncommon, he said, to see a young oil playing field worker “ roll up to outpatient treatment in a Corvette. ”
Failing the test
In the first six months of this year, more than 1,000 people working or applying for jobs in the oil-producing business failed urine-based drug tests, double the pace of failures last year, according to Houston-based DISA Global Solutions, the largest supplier of drug-testing policies to U.S. vegetable oil producers. The number of industry workers failing hair’s-breadth follicle tests, which are more effective in detecting long-run drug manipulation, jumped to more than 4,600 over the past 18 months, tripling the total in the two years from 2009 to 2010 ; the number of people testing positive for methamphetamine jumped five times.

big oil companies and anoint field contractors said they have adopted tougher drug-testing policies in recent years. Houston petroleum producer Apache Corp., for exercise, conducts random, pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable-suspicion and random drug tests. If an employee or contractor fails a trial, he could face ending .
“ We are argus-eyed about ensuring a drug-free culture, ” said Castlen Kennedy, a spokeswoman at Apache .
But means abuse specialists believe drug-test failure figures grossly underestimate the number of vegetable oil field workers who abuse drugs. Traces of methamphetamine, for example, hover in a person ‘s arrangement for merely few days, making it harder to catch methamphetamine abusers. several recovering drug addicts said managers in the oil patch tip off crews to a random drug test several days before it takes locate, some to dodge fines by regulators, others to avoid having to hire new workers .
“ There ‘s a million and one ways to beat the drug tests, ” said Patrice Owens, director of the Greenhouse Outpatient Center, an Arlington addiction discussion adeptness. “ If people want to use drugs, there ‘s always a way. ”
even if they get caught using drugs, oil field workers frequently find their way back to the anoint while. For the seven years Cody Watson worked as an oil sphere electrician, using meth and cocaine as he worked nonstop flight for several days at a time when storms knocked out outfit powerlines, it was n’t hard to pass drug tests because managers gave him and his gang batch of promote warning .
once, after Watson smashed his finger with a shriek, a drill company fired him when he came up positive in a post-accident drug test. He drove 18 hours across Texas for a job interview with another company, purging his system with water to erase any trace of drugs. He passed the pre-employment drug test .
“ During the smash times, I could leave my job and there ‘d be plenty of places to work, ” said Watson, now a 41-year-old recover addict. “ A fortune of these guys hop from one carriage to another. It ‘s a ceaseless cycle. ”
Left: Robert Orosco on the day he attempted to kill himself. ( Robert Orosco. Right: Robert Orosco on the day he attempted to kill himself. ( Robert Orosco ) Steve Gonzales / Houston Chronicle, handouts
Breaking the cycle
not long ago, drug practice on a boring rig was knocked out in the open, said Kevin Tyson, a 55-year-old recover addict. He recalled fellow carriage workers tying a syringe filled with meth to a machine that pulls pipe out of the earth, then running it up to the derrick hand 90 feet above the trailer truck floor, where the man took a reach .
Meth kept Tyson working and partying for years. They ‘d go on benders for days and did n’t think much of it. once, he missed a pipe he was supposed to catch. It swung right past him across the outfit floor. Another guy smashed a coworker ‘s hand with a maul. Some would die in oil playing field accidents, car wrecks or from overdoses. “ Oh well, ” he said, “ barely keep going. ”
Doctors told him he weighed 70-something pounds when he arrived at a hospital in Lubbock, where he spent a month in an intensive care unit. He has the paperwork, but he still does n’t know if that is true. One doctor said if he used methamphetamine again, he would die. He thought about that for a long clock. Four months after his passing, he got bored, called his buddy and started shooting methamphetamine again .
“ I knew I was going to die, ” said Tyson, who had worked in oil patch for 16 years before he began his recovery in November 2001, at age 39. “ But I just figured, let ‘s have a good hard test. ”
The rules have changed since Tyson began his career, as companies impose rigorous testing regimens. But the tough-guy culture however drives roustabouts, mechanics, truckers and rig hands to work retentive hours under grueling conditions and find ways to beat the tests. And sometimes, it drives them to the break point .
In mid-april, around 2 ante meridiem, Robert Orosco Jr. put a grease-gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The 34-year-old had lost everything to his get worse with Xanax, a highly addictive medication for anxiety, and cocaine. The drugs were therefore promptly available, he could have them delivered. His wife had left him. He lost his house. He lost his job as an oil-equipment salesman. In every scenario he played out in his head, his six children were better off without him. The grease-gun did n’t fire .
Left: Kevin Tyson in the hospital during his drug use time. ( Kevin Tyson). Right: Kevin Tyson talks about his drug and alcohol abuse and rehab at The Springboard Center Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Midland. ( Steve Gonzales / Houston Chronicle ) Steve Gonzales / Houston Chronicle, handouts
Orosco checked himself in to a discussion facility the adjacent day. today, a few months grave, Orosco is building a new company that offers drone imaging to oil companies to identify leaks and assemble 3D maps of the earth ‘s surface .
“ The smash brings the good and the badly, ” Orosco said. “ There ‘s so a lot here. ”
survive calendar month, Lozoya, the former petroleum airfield teamster, found a caper at a local department storehouse selling women ‘s shoes for $ 13 an hour, plus perpetration. He remembers his days as a 19-year old gain paychecks that were five times larger than the average american english his age and how he blew it all to feed a substance abuse that finally cost $ 500 to $ 1,000 a sidereal day .
He besides remembers a downward helix that cost him his occupation and led him to steal RVs, dirt bikes and flush copper from the oil field. several times, he closely overdosed, and ultimately he sought aid at a discussion center field after his girlfriend and others persuaded him to get scavenge.

today, he likes getting dressed up for function, with a suit, tie and well-groomed haircloth. He hopes to pursue a college academic degree and, possibly one day, have his own invest brand. And, for at least the adjacent few months, he plans to heed the advice his counselors gave him : Do n’t go back to the oil eyepatch .
“ I do n’t see myself being able to work 100 hours a week sober, ” he said. “ The vegetable oil field is hood. ”
Data reporter John Harden contributed to this report.

source : https://kembeo.com
Category : Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *