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National Drug Intelligence Center.

     

Title:

Vermont Drug Threat Assessment

Vermont Drug Threat Assessment.Publication Date:  January 2002
Updated: May 2003

Document ID: 2002-S0377VT-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 Vermont. 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 Vermont.

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

Heroin
 
Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Cocaine
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Marijuana 
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Other Dangerous Drugs 
 
Diverted Pharmaceuticals
  Hallucinogens
  Stimulants

Methamphetamine
 
Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Outlook

Sources


List of Tables 

Table 1. Vermont Crime Report, 1997-2000
Table 2. Federal Drug-Related Sentences, Vermont and Nationwide, FY1996-FY2000
Table 3. Federal Drug-Related Sentences, by Drug Type, Vermont, FY1996-FY2000
Table 4. Drug Seizures by Kilogram, Vermont, FY1995-FY2000
Table 5. Drug-Related Treatment Admissions, by Drug Type, Vermont, FY1996-FY2000


Executive Summary

The distribution and abuse of illegal drugs pose a serious threat to the safety and security of the citizens of Vermont. Heroin, most of which is produced in South America, is Vermont's primary drug threat. Heroin treatment admissions currently outnumber all other illicit drug treatment admissions with the exception of marijuana, and they continue to increase. Heroin-related deaths and arrests are likewise increasing. Cocaine represents the second most significant threat with the number of treatment admissions and arrests increasing but at slower rates than heroin. Marijuana is the most prevalent drug in Vermont, and the rate of abuse is high, particularly among young adults. However, marijuana is considered a lower threat than heroin or cocaine because its effects are less debilitating, and its distribution and use are not commonly associated with violent crime. Other dangerous drugs, including diverted pharmaceuticals, LSD, and MDMA, represent a minor threat compared with heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Diversion and abuse of OxyContin pose a new and growing threat within this category. The threat posed by methamphetamine is low with little indication that the drug is available or abused.

Heroin, most of which is produced in South America, is the primary drug threat to Vermont because it is increasingly available, and the level of abuse is high and increasing rapidly. The Burlington Police Department cites heroin as the primary drug threat to Burlington, Vermont's largest city. The Vermont Drug Task Force, with jurisdiction throughout the state, reports that availability and abuse of heroin are increasing in the cities of Brattleboro, Burlington, Montpelier, Newport, Rutland, and St. Johnsbury. The annual number of treatment admissions for heroin abuse in Vermont increased 230 percent from fiscal year (FY) 1996 to FY2000, more dramatically than for any other drug. The annual number of heroin overdose deaths more than tripled from 1998 through 2000. Additionally, from 1999 to 2000 the number of state and local heroin-related investigations increased 372 percent, and the number of individuals arrested for either possession or sale/delivery of heroin increased 147 percent. Wholesale distribution of heroin in Vermont is extremely limited. Local independent Caucasian dealers are the primary retail distributors of heroin in the state. These dealers commonly travel in private automobiles to purchase heroin, primarily from Dominican criminal groups in Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and New York, New York.

Cocaine is the second most significant drug threat to Vermont. Most state and federal law enforcement authorities report that powdered cocaine is widely available with availability remaining at a stable level. The availability and abuse of crack cocaine are reported to be increasing in the more populated areas, particularly Brattleboro, Burlington, and Rutland. The number of treatment admissions for cocaine increased 14 percent from FY1999 to FY2000. Additionally, the number of cocaine-related arrests increased 15 percent from 1999 to 2000. Wholesale distribution of cocaine in Vermont is extremely limited. Local independent Caucasian dealers are the primary retail distributors of powdered cocaine in the state. These dealers commonly travel in private automobiles to purchase powdered cocaine, primarily from Dominican criminal groups in Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and New York, New York. African American criminal groups based in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York are the dominant retail distributors of crack in Vermont. Members of these criminal groups typically purchase crack from Dominican criminal groups, travel to Vermont to sell the drugs quickly, and return home. These criminal groups are also increasingly converting powdered cocaine into crack in Vermont.

Marijuana is the most widely available and commonly abused drug in Vermont. However, marijuana constitutes a lower threat than heroin and cocaine because distribution and abuse of marijuana are not commonly associated with violent crime. Vermont consistently had more treatment admissions for marijuana abuse than for any other drug every year from FY1997 through FY2000 with admissions increasing 45 percent during this 4-year period. Marijuana use among high school students is decreasing after a period of increasing use beginning in 1991 and peaking in 1997. Most of the marijuana available in the state is produced in Mexico; marijuana produced locally or in Canada is also available. Wholesale distribution of marijuana in Vermont is extremely limited. Loosely organized Caucasian criminal groups and local independent Caucasian dealers are the dominant retail distributors of marijuana. These groups typically purchase marijuana from Caucasian criminal groups in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

Other dangerous drugs, including diverted pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin, hallucinogens such as LSD, and stimulants such as MDMA, currently represent a minor threat to Vermont compared with heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The abuse of OxyContin, a strong semisynthetic opiate prescribed for pain relief, is of increasing concern to state and local law enforcement officials in several Vermont communities. Young adults are the primary abusers of LSD, and the drug is frequently distributed at rock concerts in the state. The availability and abuse of MDMA are limited in Vermont, but the drug has become a serious problem in other states in the region. MDMA is distributed at raves in neighboring states and Canada. Burlington area residents, among others, reportedly attend raves held across the border in Montreal, and residents in areas such as Brattleboro reportedly attend raves in Springfield, Massachusetts. No raves have been reported in Vermont. To the extent MDMA is available in the state, it is usually sold in bars and private residences.

The availability and abuse of methamphetamine are extremely limited in Vermont, making the threat posed by the drug low. The number of methamphetamine-related primary treatment admissions in Vermont was relatively constant over the past 5 years, averaging only 12 per year through FY2000. Additionally, methamphetamine seizures are rare, and law enforcement officials have not seized any methamphetamine laboratories in the state since 1990.


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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