Drug Trends Change - Part 2 of Series

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

Meth, Heroin and Ecstasy are being used more and more across the country, and they're being shipped in from Mexican and Asian drug trafficking organizations according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Both national and state officials say prescription pills still exceed the abuse of all other drugs except marijuana, but people on the street say the most requested drug is no longer Oxycontin.

The majority of drugs being tested at the State Police Crime Lab in London, chemists say, are still prescription pain killers. While Oxycontin is still a big part of drug-related cases they see, there's another growing trend.

"Here I have a tablet, it looks to be some Alprazalam, a generic for Xanax," said KSP Crime Lab Chemist Jamie Hibbard.

"As far as I'm concerned, Xanax is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world," said recovering drug addict Steve Collett.

Collett says Xanax used to be one of his drugs of choice before sobering up.

"I've seen them just die from coming off Xanax, I mean just die. It gets such a hold on you that your breathing ain't right, your mind ain't right, you ain't got no sense of distance. You don't remember driving from Leslie County to Lexington and back," Collett said.

Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that Collett says abusers often take with Oxycontin or Meth, amplifying the mind-altering effects. So how can the cycle of abuse be broken? Collett says for him, it took several rounds in jail and finally a revelation.

"I stayed my first night out of being released in a portapotty. I sat in it 14 hours," Collett said.

With nowhere else to turn, freezing in the 19 degree cold, Collett says he made a deal.

"I just began to pray and made a deal with God, if you let me live, I'd serve him," said Collett.

To help transition from addiction to the drug-free workforce, Attorney General Greg Stumbo says more employers have to be willing to take a risk, like the Bud Manufacturing Facility near Louisville.

"They took people who had been addicted to drugs like cocaine and heroin and they will tell you that they are some of their best employees because once they've kicked the habit, then they've truly changed their lives and they want to be good employees," Stumbo said.

National Drug Intelligence Center's National Drug Threat Assessment of 2007

THE NATIONAL DRUG INTELLIGENCE CENTER, A COMPONENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, HAS RELEASED THE NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT 2007 DETAILING NATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING AND ABUSE TRENDS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. THE ASSESSMENT IDENTIFIES THE PRIMARY DRUG THREATS TO THE NATION, TRACKS DRUG AVAILABILITY THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND ANALYZES TRAFFICKING AND DISTRIBUTION PATTERNS OF ILLICIT DRUGS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. IT EVALUATES THE THREAT POSED BY ILLEGAL DRUGS COMPARING AVAILABILITY, PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION, TRANSPORTATION, DISTRIBUTION AND DEMAND.

THE NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT 2007 DETAILS THESE EMERGING THREATS BASED ON THE MOST CURRENTLY AVAILABLE LAW ENFORCEMENT, INTELLIGENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTING AND DATA.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT ARE AS FOLLOWS:

-- FOLLOWING A SHARP DECREASE IN METHAMPHETAMINE PRODUCTION WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, MEXICAN DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS (DTO), WHO PRODUCE ICE METHAMPHETAMINE IN MEXICO, HAVE GAINED CONSIDERABLE STRENGTH AND EXPANDED THEIR PRESENCE IN DRUG MARKETS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING SMALLER COMMUNITIES IN MIDWESTERN AND EASTERN STATES.

-- THE EXPANDED PRESENCE OF MEXICAN DTOS IN DRUG MARKETS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY HAVE ENABLED SOME TO INTRODUCE MEXICAN BLACK TAR AND BROWN POWDER HEROIN IN SOUTHEASTERN AND MIDWESTERN STATES. ALTHOUGH SOUTH AMERICAN HEROIN IS STILL THE PREDOMINANT HEROIN IN MOST EASTERN DRUG MARKETS, MEXICAN DTOS' ABILITY TO SELL MEXICAN HEROIN BEYOND TRADITIONAL WESTERN STATE HEROIN MARKETS PRESENTS NEW CHALLENGES TO LAW ENFORCEMENT.

-- ALTHOUGH COCA CULTIVATION IS HIGHER THAN PREVIOUSLY ESTIMATED, COCAINE AVAILABILITY AND USE IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE NOT SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGED.

-- ECSTACY (MDMA) AVAILABILITY AND DISTRIBUTION HAVE INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY. ASIAN DTOS BASED IN CANADA HAVE GAINED CONTROL OVER MOST MDMA DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND HAVE EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION TO A LEVEL SIMILAR TO THAT OF 2001.

-- ASIAN CRIMINAL GROUPS BASED IN CANADA HAVE CONTRIBUTED SIGNIFICANTLY TO BOTH THE INCREASE IN POTENCY OF MARIJUANA AND ITS DISTRIBUTION THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES.

-- WHILE RATES OF PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG ABUSE EXCEED THAT OF ALL OTHER DRUGS EXCEPT MARIJUANA, RECENT SUCCESSES IN REDUCING THE ILLEGAL DIVERSION OF PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS, PARTICULARLY PHARMACEUTICAL NARCOTICS SUCH AS OXYCONTIN, HAVE CAUSED SOME INDIVIDUALS ADDICTED TO SUCH DRUGS TO SUBSTITUTE OTHER DRUGS, SUCH AS HEROIN, FOR PRESCRIPTION NARCOTICS.

-- MOST MEXICAN AND COLOMBIAN DTOS HAVE RESORTED TO CONSOLIDATING ILLICIT DRUG PROCEEDS INTO LARGE BULK CASH SHIPMENTS AND SMUGGLING THEM INTO MEXICO PRIMARILY THROUGH SOUTH TEXAS. U.S. REGULATORY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS HAVE MADE IT INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS TO LAUNDER ILLICIT PROCEEDS IN U.S. FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.

THE NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT 2007 WAS PREPARED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES. THE ASSESSMENT ALSO HAS INCORPORATED INFORMATION COLLECTED THROUGH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE NATIONAL DRUG INTELLIGENCE CENTER'S NATIONAL SURVEY OF MORE THAN 3,200 STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND THOUSANDS OF FIELD INTERVIEWS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS.

A COPY OF THE NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT 2007 CAN BE FOUND AT http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs21/21137/index.htm.


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