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National Drug Intelligence Center.

     

Title:

South Carolina Drug Threat Assessment

South Carolina Drug Threat Assessment.Publication Date:  December 2001
Updated: June 2002

Document ID: 2002-S0380SC-001

Archived on:  January 1, 2006. This document may contain dated information. It remains available to provide access to historical materials.

This report is a strategic assessment that addresses the status and outlook of the drug threat to South Carolina. Analytical judgment determined the threat posed by each drug type or category, taking into account the most current quantitative and qualitative information on availability, demand, production or cultivation, transportation, and distribution, as well as the effects of a particular drug on abusers and society as a whole. While NDIC sought to incorporate the latest available information, a time lag often exists between collection and publication of data, particularly demand-related data sets. NDIC anticipates that this drug threat assessment will be useful to policymakers, law enforcement personnel, and treatment providers at the federal, state, and local levels because it draws upon a broad range of information sources to describe and analyze the drug threat to South Carolina.

Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time.  Addresses are provided at the end of the page.
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Contents

 

Executive Summary

Overview
  Fast Facts

Cocaine
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Marijuana
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Methamphetamine
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Heroin
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Other Dangerous Drugs
  Club Drugs
  Diverted Pharmaceuticals
  Others

Outlook

Sources


List of Tables

Table 1. Drug-Related Arrests in South Carolina, 1995-1999
Table 2. Powdered and Crack Cocaine Prices in South Carolina Cities, 2000
Table 3. Powdered and Crack Cocaine Seizures in South Carolina, 1998-2000
Table 4. Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Data, South Carolina, 1998 and 1999
Table 5. Methamphetamine Prices in South Carolina Cities, 2000
Table 6. Methamphetamine Seizures, 1997-1999
Table 7. Heroin Prices in South Carolina Cities, 2000
Table 8. Heroin Seizures in South Carolina, 1997-1999


Executive Summary

South Carolina is a destination and, to a far greater extent, a transshipment point for illicit drugs destined for the Southeast and other areas of the nation. Colombian, Mexican, Dominican, and African American criminal groups transport most of the drugs to South Carolina from sources in foreign countries and from U.S. distribution centers. Passenger vehicles, package delivery services, air packages or couriers, and commercial buses, trucks, and railways are the most common means used to transport drugs. Mexican, African American, Caucasian, and Dominican criminal groups, street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and independent dealers are involved in the distribution and retail sale of drugs. Violent crime associated with street gangs is a significant threat in urban centers such as Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. Statewide, publicly funded treatment center admissions for all drugs increased more than 11 percent from fiscal year 1997 to fiscal year 2000, during a time when the population of the state increased only 6 percent. From 1991 to 1998, the number of adolescents entering publicly funded drug treatment facilities in the state increased by 324 percent.

The availability, distribution, and abuse of powdered and crack cocaine constitute the primary drug threats in South Carolina. Crack cocaine abuse is seen in both rural and urban areas, and is associated with high levels of violent crime. The number of cocaine-related admissions to publicly funded treatment programs decreased slightly between 1997 and 2000 but remains near the national average. Colombian drug trafficking organizations routinely smuggle multihundred-kilogram shipments of powdered cocaine into the Port of Charleston on board commercial container ships, although most of these large shipments are likely destined for other East Coast markets. African American criminal groups are the primary transporters and wholesale distributors of cocaine in South Carolina. African American street gangs and local independent dealers are the primary retail distributors of cocaine in the state.

Marijuana, particularly that which is Mexico-produced, is the most readily available and widely abused drug in South Carolina. Marijuana publicly funded treatment center admissions are above the national average and are continuing to increase. Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters of marijuana into the state, and they control wholesale distribution, but cannabis also is cultivated domestically in South Carolina. Most cannabis is grown outdoors, but the number of indoor cannabis operations is increasing. Multihundred-kilogram shipments of Mexico-produced and Caribbean-produced marijuana are smuggled into the Port of Charleston and are often destined for areas outside South Carolina. Street gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs control the retail distribution of marijuana in the cities, but Caucasian and African American local independent dealers control the retail distribution in rural areas of the state.

Methamphetamine production, distribution, and abuse are significant threats to the western part of the state, particularly Greenville. Methamphetamine may be growing in popularity because it has a lower cost and longer euphoric effect than crack cocaine. Most of the methamphetamine sold in South Carolina is produced in high-volume laboratories in Mexico and California. Methamphetamine production was extremely unusual in the state, but methamphetamine laboratory seizures had become somewhat more common in 2000. Mexican criminal groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and Caucasian criminal groups control the transportation and distribution of methamphetamine in the state. Few methamphetamine abusers have sought publicly funded treatment in the state, but as methamphetamine becomes more available and its use more common, the number of abusers requiring treatment may increase.

The distribution and abuse of heroin are limited mainly to the metropolitan areas of Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia. Dominican criminal groups, African American street gangs, and independent dealers distribute heroin. Retail distributors in the cities supply heroin to users who travel to the cities solely to purchase the drug. Isolated increases in heroin overdoses occurred in these metropolitan areas when higher-purity heroin was distributed. While the rate of admissions in South Carolina to publicly funded treatment programs for heroin abuse is well below the national average, there was a slight increase between fiscal years 1998 and 2000. In addition, South Carolina's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance data indicate rates of heroin abuse greater than the national average.

Other dangerous drugs, such as club drugs and diverted pharmaceuticals, are available throughout the state. GHB, MDMA, LSD, and Rohypnol are growing threats and are used primarily by juveniles and young adults. Recent GHB overdoses in Greenville and the emergence of raves across the state indicate an increasing threat from these drugs. 


Addresses

National Drug Intelligence Center
319 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Johnstown, PA 15901

Tel. (814) 532-4601
FAX (814) 532-4690
E-mail NDIC.Contacts@usdoj.gov

National Drug Intelligence Center
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001
McLean, VA 22102-3840

Tel. (703) 556-8970
FAX (703) 556-7807

 

Web Addresses

ADNET:  http://ndicosa 
      DOJ:  http://www.usdoj.gov/archive/ndic/
      LEO: home.leo.gov/lesig/archive/ndic/


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