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Georgia Drug Threat Assessment
Publication Date: April 2003
Document ID: 2003-S0380GA-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 joint strategic assessment by the National Drug Intelligence Center and the Drug Enforcement Administration that addresses the status and outlook of the drug threat to Georgia. 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 Georgia.
Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time. Addresses are provided at the end of the page.
Other Dangerous Drugs
GHB and Analogs
List of Tables
Table 1. Drug-Related Treatment Admissions to Publicly Funded Facilities, Georgia, 1997-2001
Table 2. Federal Drug Seizures in Kilograms, Georgia, 1998-2001
Table 3. Cannabis Plants Eradicated by the Georgia Governor's Task Force on Drug Suppression, 2000
The production, distribution, and abuse of illicit drugs and the diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals pose serious threats to Georgia. Cocaine represents the principal drug threat to Georgia followed by marijuana. Methamphetamine is a rapidly increasing threat to the state. Heroin is a threat primarily in large urban areas such as Atlanta. Among other dangerous drugs, OxyContin and MDMA represent the primary threat. Atlanta has emerged as a regional drug transportation hub and distribution center from which various criminal groups transport and distribute cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and other dangerous drugs.
Cocaine, particularly crack, represents the primary drug threat to Georgia. Cocaine is readily available in Georgia, and crack cocaine is the drug most often associated with violent crime in the state. Hispanic criminal groups, primarily Mexican, are the principal transporters of powdered cocaine into Georgia. These criminal groups generally transport the drug in tractor-trailers and private vehicles from Mexico, California, and southwestern states to Atlanta, which serves as a major cocaine transshipment point and wholesale distribution center for the southeastern United States. Hispanic criminal groups, primarily Mexican, are the principal wholesale distributors of powdered cocaine in Georgia. These groups supply powdered cocaine primarily to African American criminal groups, African American and Hispanic gangs and, to a lesser extent, Caucasian and Dominican criminal groups and various local independent dealers for subsequent distribution. Retail distribution of powdered cocaine is limited in Georgia; most powdered cocaine is converted to crack prior to distribution at the midlevel and retail level. African American criminal groups, African American and Hispanic gangs, and local independent dealers are wholesale distributors of crack cocaine in the state; wholesale distribution usually involves multiounce quantities. African American and Hispanic gangs frequently distribute retail quantities of crack cocaine in Georgia. African American and Mexican criminal groups and local independent dealers also distribute crack cocaine at the retail level, to a lesser extent.
Marijuana is the most widely available illicit drug in Georgia; however, the drug is considered a lower threat than cocaine because it is less often associated with violent crime. Most of the marijuana available in the state is produced in Mexico, although marijuana produced in Georgia and surrounding states also is available. A limited amount of marijuana produced in Colombia and Jamaica is available as well. Mexican criminal groups using tractor-trailers and private vehicles are the dominant transporters of the Mexico-produced marijuana available in Georgia and are the primary wholesale distributors of Mexico-produced marijuana. Colombian criminal groups are the primary transporters and wholesale distributors of marijuana produced in Colombia, and Jamaican criminal groups are the primary transporters and wholesale distributors of marijuana produced in Jamaica. Caucasian and Mexican criminal groups and Caucasian local independent dealers are the primary wholesale distributors of marijuana produced in Georgia and surrounding states. African American and Hispanic gangs and African American and Caucasian local independent dealers are the primary retail distributors of marijuana in Georgia.
Methamphetamine poses an increasing threat to Georgia, particularly in northern and central sections of the state, and law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals report that a more diverse group is abusing the drug. In parts of northern Georgia, methamphetamine has emerged as the primary drug threat. Although methamphetamine-related treatment admissions have increased throughout the state, methamphetamine abuse has not yet become a problem in the Atlanta area. Most of the methamphetamine available in Georgia is produced by Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups in high volume laboratories in Mexico, California, and southwestern states. Methamphetamine also is produced in Georgia by local independent Caucasian producers and, to a lesser extent, by outlaw motorcycle gangs. Mexican criminal groups transport most of the methamphetamine available in Georgia from Mexico, California, and southwestern states using commercial and private vehicles. These groups also are the primary wholesale distributors that sell the drug to a variety of other criminal groups in the state. Mexican criminal groups, local independent Caucasian dealers and, to a lesser extent, outlaw motorcycle gangs and Hispanic gang members are the principal retail distributors of methamphetamine in Georgia.
Heroin is a threat primarily to metropolitan Atlanta and other large cities in Georgia. Heroin is also available and occasionally abused elsewhere in the state. South American heroin is commonly available in Atlanta and also is available in Augusta, Columbus, and Savannah. Southeast Asian and Southwest Asian as well as Mexican brown powdered and black tar heroin are occasionally available in very limited quantities in the state. Mexican criminal groups using private and commercial vehicles, package delivery services, and couriers aboard bus lines are the primary transporters of South American heroin into and through Georgia. Mexican and, to a lesser extent, Colombian and Dominican criminal groups distribute South American heroin at the wholesale level. Mexican criminal groups also transport and distribute very small quantities of Mexican brown powdered and black tar heroin in Georgia. Nigerian criminal groups transport and distribute South American heroin and small quantities of Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin into and through Georgia. African American, Caucasian, Dominican, and Mexican criminal groups as well as local independent dealers are the principal retail distributors of heroin in Georgia.
Other dangerous drugs pose an increasing threat to Georgia. This category of drugs includes the stimulant MDMA; the hallucinogens LSD and ketamine; the depressant GHB and its analogs; and diverted pharmaceuticals such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxycodone (OxyContin), and benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium). Among other dangerous drugs, OxyContin and MDMA represent the primary threats. Many of these dangerous drugs are abused by middle-class suburban teenagers and young adults. MDMA is increasingly available and abused in Georgia, particularly in the suburbs of Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah. Caucasian local independent dealers are the primary wholesale and retail distributors of MDMA, LSD, ketamine, GHB and its analogs, and diverted pharmaceuticals in Georgia. MDMA, LSD, and ketamine, as well as GHB and its analogs generally are sold at raves, nightclubs, and private parties, and on high school and college campuses. Diverted pharmaceuticals generally are sold to acquaintances and established customers.
National Drug Intelligence Center
319 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Johnstown, PA 15901
Tel. (814) 532-4601
FAX (814) 532-4690
National Drug Intelligence Center
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001
McLean, VA 22102-3840
Tel. (703) 556-8970
FAX (703) 556-7807
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