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Illinois Drug Threat Assessment Update
May 2002


Methamphetamine poses a lesser threat to Illinois than cocaine and heroin. However, production and abuse are expanding in the rural areas and pose an increasing threat to the state. Substance abuse indicators reveal that methamphetamine abuse likely is increasing throughout the state. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, the number of methamphetamine-related treatment admissions more than doubled from 740 in FY2000 (the first year methamphetamine admissions were reported) to 1,528 in FY2001. (See Table 1 in Cocaine section.) According to DAWN, there were 22 methamphetamine-related ED mentions in 1999; methamphetamine mentions were not reported in 2000. (See Table 2 in Cocaine section.) Additionally, DAWN mortality data reveal that there were two methamphetamine-related deaths in the Chicago metropolitan area in 2000.

Methamphetamine produced locally as well as in Mexico and southwestern states is available in Illinois. Locally produced methamphetamine is the most dominant type available in rural areas of central, northern, and southern Illinois. According to DEA, in the first quarter of FY2002, locally produced methamphetamine sold for $800 to $1,200 per ounce and $50 per gram in Rockford. In Springfield, methamphetamine sold for $16,000 to $18,000 per pound, $1,500 to $2,000 per ounce, and $90 to $150 per gram.

Methamphetamine produced by Mexican criminal groups in Mexico and in southwestern states is the dominant type available in the Chicago metropolitan area. According to DEA, in the first quarter of FY2002, Mexican methamphetamine sold for $7,300 to $10,000 per pound, $1,000 to $1,300 per ounce, and $80 to $100 per gram in the urban areas.

Local independent Caucasian males are the primary producers of methamphetamine in the state. They generally use the Birch reduction method of production. This method requires anhydrous ammonia, a common agriculture fertilizer, as a precursor chemical. Law enforcement officials throughout rural areas of Illinois report increased thefts of anhydrous ammonia that they attribute to increased methamphetamine production in their areas. The iodine/red phosphorus method also is used to produce methamphetamine in some areas of the state, but to a much lesser extent. The number of methamphetamine laboratories in the state has increased substantially. According to the Illinois State Police, 87 laboratories were seized in 1998, 246 in 1999, 403 in 2000, and 666 in 2001.

Mexican DTOs transport methamphetamine produced in Mexico or in southwestern states to Chicago in commercial or private vehicles. Locally produced methamphetamine is transported by independent producers throughout the state primarily in private vehicles.

Locally produced methamphetamine is distributed within the state by local independent dealers. Limited law enforcement reporting reveals that outlaw motorcycle gangs also may be distributing locally produced methamphetamine at the retail level. Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are the primary wholesale distributors of methamphetamine produced in Mexico and southwestern states. However, according to local law enforcement reporting, this methamphetamine is not distributed extensively at the retail level in the state but is transported through Illinois for distribution in surrounding states. 


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