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National Drug Intelligence Center
Hawaii Drug Threat Assessment
Other Dangerous Drugs
The other dangerous drugs (ODDs) category includes club drugs and diverted pharmaceuticals. Currently, the threat posed by club drugs such as MDMA, GHB, and LSD is limited. However, MDMA abuse is increasing in Hawaii. Club drugs are used primarily by teens and young adults at all-night dance parties called raves. The abuse of diverted pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin is increasing in Hawaii. There is no evidence to suggest that ODDs contribute to violence in the state and, with the exception of a few isolated incidents, ODDs are not produced in Hawaii. Couriers carrying false-bottom luggage and traveling on commercial flights typically transport ODDs. Package delivery services also are used to transport ODDs. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers are the primary wholesale and retail distributors of ODDs in Hawaii.
MDMA, also called ecstasy, Adam, XTC, E, and X, is a synthetic psychoactive drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. MDMA was patented in Germany in 1914 and was sometimes given to psychiatric patients to assist in psychotherapy. This practice was never approved by the American Psychological Association or the Food and Drug Administration. It is sometimes called the hug drug because users say it makes them feel good. However, use of the drug may cause psychological difficulties similar to those associated with methamphetamine and cocaine abuse including confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and paranoia. MDMA is taken orally in tablet or capsule form. The user begins to feel the effects within 1 hour of ingestion. Effects may last up to 6 hours, depending on dosage, purity, and the environment in which it is taken. Some abusers take multiple doses, consuming as many as 10 tablets in a single night.
The physical and psychological effects of MDMA abuse vary widely. MDMA is a mood- and mind-altering drug affecting brain serotonin levels. Common psychological effects are feelings of emotional closeness coupled with the breakdown of personal communication barriers, a sense of peace with oneself and the world, an enhanced sense of pleasure, greater self-confidence, and an increased sense of energy. MDMA abuse increases blood pressure and heart rate and can result in heart failure or heat stroke. Physical exertion can cause body temperature to increase to as high as 109 degrees. Physical effects include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, chills or sweating, extreme relaxation, and tremors.
About 80 percent of the MDMA consumed worldwide is produced in laboratories in the Netherlands and Belgium. MDMA distributed in Hawaii is transported primarily from these source areas. Law enforcement and U.S. military officials in Honolulu report an increase in the abuse of ODDs in Hawaii, particularly MDMA. In 2002 the drug typically sells for $15 to $20 per tablet in Honolulu. MDMA is distributed primarily by Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers.
MDMA abuse is increasing among Hawaii high school students. According to the 2000 Hawaii Student Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use Study, 4.1 percent of Hawaii tenth grade students reported lifetime MDMA abuse in 1998 compared with 5.3 percent of tenth grade students in 2000. In 1998, 5.3 percent of Hawaii twelfth grade students reported lifetime MDMA abuse compared with 8.4 percent in 2000.
GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy, scoop, grievous bodily harm, and Georgia home boy, is abused for its euphoric, sedative, and anabolic effects; however, its abuse can induce coma and cause insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. GHB combined with methamphetamine increases the risk of seizures. Overdoses can occur quickly; some of the effects include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, impaired breathing, and death. GHB is eliminated from the body quickly and may be difficult to detect in emergency rooms and other treatment facilities. The drug increasingly is implicated in poisonings, overdoses, sexual assaults, and fatalities. GHB can be produced from easily obtainable ingredients, one of which is GBL (gamma-butyrolactone), a solvent commonly sold as a paint stripper.
GBL is a List I chemical used in the production of GHB and, when taken orally, is metabolized into GHB in the body. GBL is sold commonly as a powder or liquid at some gyms, fitness centers, and health food stores.
In Hawaii the threat posed by GHB or GBL is limited. GHB and GBL are distributed in fitness clubs in Hawaii because it is touted as a muscle-building supplement. In 1999 state authorities seized three GHB laboratories--two on Maui and one on Oahu. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers are the primary distributors of GHB.
In Hawaii the threat posed by LSD is limited. LSD, also known as acid, boomers, and yellow sunshines, is a hallucinogen that induces abnormalities in sensory perception. The effects of LSD are unpredictable and depend on the dosage, the environment in which it is used, and the user's personality, mood, and expectations. Abusers may feel the effects within 30 to 90 minutes. Physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. LSD abusers have reported experiencing numbness, weakness, trembling, and nausea. Flashbacks are a long-term disorder associated with LSD abuse. LSD typically is taken orally and is sold in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms and on pieces of paper that have absorbed the drug. Historically, LSD has been produced in northern California.
LSD is available in Hawaii for $4 to $6 per dosage unit or hit and $225 to $275 per page, a 100-dosage-unit sheet. LSD is distributed primarily by Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers.
Diverted pharmaceuticals are a growing concern in Hawaii. According to DEA, some of the most abused pharmaceutical drugs in Hawaii are hydrocodone products such as Lortab and Lorcet (both combinations of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen) and diazepam (a sedative hypnotic). These drugs are illegally sold for $3 to $7 per tablet. OxyContin, the brand name for controlled-release oxycodone, is becoming more popular. There have been 2 OxyContin-related deaths on Oahu as of March 2002 compared with 19 in 2001, 6 in 2000, and 3 each in 1999 and 1998. According to the Honolulu chief medical examiner, abusers of OxyContin typically are Caucasian males in their forties and fifties. Another pharmaceutical, Dilaudid (a synthetic narcotic), sells for $40 to $80 per tablet. Pharmaceuticals most commonly are diverted through prescription forgery or theft or by doctor shopping, which involves obtaining prescriptions from multiple sources. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers are the primary distributors of diverted pharmaceuticals in Hawaii.
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