National Drug Intelligence
High levels of violent and property crime in Atlanta often are a result of the distribution and abuse of illicit drugs, particularly crack cocaine. According to data from the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) 2007 (the latest year for which such data are available), 59 percent of state, county, and local law enforcement agencies in Georgia reported that crack cocaine was the drug that most contributed to violent crime in their jurisdictions, and 55.8 percent reported that crack cocaine also was the drug that most contributed to property crime. Moreover, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data reveal that violent crime in Atlanta increased from 2006 to 2007, although this report does not overtly link drug trafficking and violent crime. Preliminary UCR data from January 2007 through June 2007 (the latest period for which such data are available) indicate that violent crime in Atlanta increased from 3,543 incidents from January through June 2006 to 3,814 incidents during that same period in 2007. Likewise, property crime increased from 14,919 incidents from January through June 2006 to 16,142 incidents during that same period in 2007. In addition, the Atlanta Police Department reported that the number of homicides committed in Atlanta increased from 110 in 2006 to 129 in 2007; they also reported that violence among retail-level crack cocaine distributors was high in 2007 and contributed to the overall increase in violent crime during the year.
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Cocaine, both powder and crack, is the primary illicit substance most often identified in treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in the Atlanta MSA. According to data from the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the number of cocaine admissions in the Atlanta MSA in state fiscal year (SFY) 2006 was greater than the number of admissions for heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, or other substances, excluding alcohol.9 (See Table 5.) Moreover, public health authorities reported that the decrease in the availability of cocaine at the wholesale level in the Atlanta HIDTA region in 2007 forced some retail-level distributors to cut the cocaine to stretch supplies and meet the demand.
|Primary Drug at Admission||SFY03||SFY04||SFY05||SFY06||SFY07|
|Cocaine (Powder and Crack)||2,867||2,942||2,888||3,047||NA**|
|All Other Substances, Excluding Alcohol||1,879||1,690||1,909||1,902||NA|
Source: Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of
Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases.
*Figures in this table represent the number of consumers who had at least one admission during the state fiscal year in which the primary "substance problem at admission" was the substance shown. A consumer is counted only once per fiscal year per primary substance problem regardless of the number of admissions for that problem. Note that a consumer may be counted in more than one category per state fiscal year because the consumer may have had separate admissions for different primary substances. This table includes only those admissions to services funded or operated by the State of Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases and does not include admissions to services of any other providers, public or private.
**NA--Not available. Full year 2007 data were not available from the Georgia Department of Human Resources for inclusion in this report. Moreover, the department changed the methodology for collecting drug treatment data in 2007, and comparisons with prior years' data will not be possible.
Ice methamphetamine abuse levels are stable throughout the region; the drug is readily available and typically of high purity. Public health authorities report that most methamphetamine abusers are Caucasians and Hispanics, and female abusers outnumber male abusers in the Atlanta MSA for individuals seeking treatment for the abuse of amphetamines, which include methamphetamine. In addition, law enforcement officials report that combination MDMA/methamphetamine tablets were seized in the HIDTA region during 2007.
The diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs are a serious and growing drug threat to the Atlanta HIDTA region. The most commonly abused pharmaceutical drugs are prescription narcotics, such as hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone, and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam). Public health authorities report that methadone and buprenorphine are commonly abused and widely available at the retail level in the Atlanta HIDTA region. Methadone has been used primarily in opioid addiction treatment for the past 50 years; however, its use in management of certain types of pain has steadily increased in the area since the late 1990s. Buprenorphine is most commonly used to treat addiction to heroin; it can also be used to treat addiction to any type of opiate, including oxycodones such as OxyContin and Percocet. Similar to methadone, buprenorphine reduces cravings for heroin and other opiates and reduces withdrawal symptoms, thus helping addicted individuals to stop abusing opiates.
MDMA available in the Atlanta HIDTA region is generally abused in combination with other substances, including alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana. MDMA is most commonly available in Buckhead and Midtown and is used mainly by Caucasian youth. However, MDMA abuse has increased among African Americans in the region.
Heroin abuse is limited in the Atlanta HIDTA region. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 2006 Heroin Domestic Monitor Program (HDMP) data (the latest year for which such data are available), South American heroin was the principal type available in retail-level heroin markets in Atlanta; Southwest Asian heroin and Mexican heroin were also available. Heroin abuse is largely confined to an established population of Caucasian long-term heroin abusers in the region. However, isolated public health reporting reveals that small quantities of "cheese heroin"--a combination of Mexican black tar heroin or brown powder heroin and over-the-counter antihistamines that contain diphenhydramine--were available in the summer of 2007; public health reporting did not reveal who was abusing the cheese heroin. Additionally, seized heroin samples tested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in late summer of 2007 confirmed the presence of diphenhydramine. However, public health and law enforcement officials have not reported the presence of cheese heroin in the region since summer 2007.
9. The state fiscal year runs from July through June.
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