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Title:

North Carolina Drug Threat Assessment

North Carolina Drug Threat Assessment.Publication Date: April 2003

Document ID: 2003-S0380NC-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 North Carolina . 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 North Carolina .

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

Cocaine
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

 

Marijuana
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Methamphetamine
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

 

Heroin
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Other Dangerous Drugs
  MDMA
  GHB and Analogs
  LSD
  Ketamine
  PCP
  Diverted Pharmaceuticals

Outlook

Sources


List of Tables 

Table 1. Drug-Related Arrests, North Carolina, CY1994-CY1999
Table 2. Cocaine-Related Treatment Admissions, North Carolina, FY1996-FY1999
Table 3. Marijuana-Related Treatment Admissions, North Carolina, FY1996-FY1999
Table 4. Marijuana-Related Arrests, North Carolina, CY1994-CY1999
Table 5. Juvenile Marijuana-Related Arrests, North Carolina, CY1994-CY1999

Table 6. Methamphetamine-Related Treatment Admissions, North Carolina, FY1996-FY1999
Table 7. Heroin-Related Treatment Admissions, North Carolina, FY1996-FY1999
Table 8. Prescription Drug Thefts, North Carolina, CY1995-CY2000

Executive Summary

The production, distribution, and abuse of illicit drugs and the diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals pose serious threats to North Carolina. Cocaine represents the principal drug threat to North Carolina followed by marijuana. Methamphetamine is a growing threat to the state. Heroin is available and abused most commonly in urban areas and is rarely available in rural areas. Among other dangerous drugs, OxyContin represents the primary threat.

Cocaine, particularly crack, poses an extreme drug threat to North Carolina. Distribution and abuse of crack cocaine frequently are associated with violent crime throughout the state. Crack cocaine is readily available in the state. The number of treatment admissions for cocaine abuse increased 21 percent from fiscal year 1996 through fiscal year 1999. The number of cocaine-related deaths increased 12 percent from 1999 through 2000. Most of the powdered cocaine in North Carolina is transported into the state in commercial and private vehicles from Mexico and southwestern states. Additional quantities are transported into the state via package delivery services and on airplanes, buses, and passenger trains. Some cocaine is transported into North Carolina from other distribution areas in states such as Florida, Georgia, New York, and South Carolina. Most powdered cocaine transported into the state is converted to crack. Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters of powdered cocaine into and through North Carolina; however, African American, Caucasian, Jamaican, and Dominican criminal groups as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs transport powdered cocaine into the state. Mexican criminal groups are the dominant wholesale distributors of powdered cocaine in North Carolina. To a lesser extent, African American, Caucasian, Jamaican, and Dominican criminal groups as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs distribute wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine in the state. Caucasian and Hispanic local independent dealers are the dominant retail distributors of powdered cocaine. African American gangs and local independent dealers dominate retail crack distribution.

Marijuana is the most readily available and widely abused drug in North Carolina. Marijuana is abused by individuals of various ages in North Carolina. Outdoor cannabis cultivation is widespread in the state. Indoor cultivation occurs to a lesser extent. Mexican criminal groups, the dominant wholesale distributors of marijuana in the state, transport multiton shipments of Mexico-produced marijuana into North Carolina in tractor-trailers, primarily from Mexico and southwestern states. African American, Caucasian, and Jamaican criminal groups as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs also transport marijuana produced in Mexico into North Carolina and distribute wholesale quantities. Caucasian and Mexican criminal groups also distribute wholesale quantities of marijuana produced in large outdoor grows in North Carolina. At the retail level, marijuana is distributed by African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic gangs; outlaw motorcycle gangs; and local independent producers and dealers.

Methamphetamine is an increasing threat to North Carolina. Law enforcement authorities in areas of western North Carolina report that methamphetamine has replaced crack cocaine in some counties as the principal drug threat because it is increasingly available and abused, is less expensive, and produces longer-lasting effects. The number of methamphetamine-related federal sentences increased dramatically from FY1996 through FY2000. Most of the methamphetamine available in North Carolina is produced in Mexico, California, and southwestern states using the hydriodic acid/red phosphorus method and transported into the state. Small quantities of the drug are produced in North Carolina, particularly in western counties, using the Birch reduction and iodine/red phosphorus methods. The number of methamphetamine laboratories seized each year by law enforcement authorities has increased since 1999. Mexican and Caucasian criminal groups and OMGs transport methamphetamine into the state from Mexico, California, and southwestern states and are the dominant wholesale distributors of the drug. Mexican and Caucasian criminal groups as well as Caucasian local independent dealers, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, and methamphetamine producers are the dominant retail distributors of the drug.

Levels of availability and rates of abuse of heroin are generally low to moderate in most areas of North Carolina. Heroin is available and abused most commonly in urban areas and is rarely available in rural areas. Most heroin abusers in North Carolina are older, chronic abusers who inject the drug. However, since the 1990s when high purity South American heroin became available, a younger, middle-class population has begun to abuse the drug. High purity heroin allows abusers to effectively snort or smoke the drug and avoid the health hazards and social stigma associated with injecting drugs. South American heroin is the type most commonly available and abused in North Carolina, although Mexican black tar heroin also is distributed and abused in a few parts of the state. African American, Caucasian, and Mexican criminal groups transport relatively small amounts of heroin into North Carolina primarily in private and commercial vehicles. These criminal groups sell retail quantities directly to abusers or to African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic gang members and local independent dealers who conduct further retail distribution.

Other dangerous drugs, including the stimulant MDMA; the depressant GHB and its analogs; the hallucinogens LSD, ketamine, and PCP; and diverted pharmaceuticals, particularly OxyContin, are a growing threat to North Carolina. Among other dangerous drugs, OxyContin and MDMA represent the primary threats. MDMA, GHB and its analogs, and hallucinogens are popular among young individuals in urban areas and college towns and are sold primarily by young Caucasian males on college campuses, at nightclubs, and at high energy, all-night dance parties called raves. The diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals, most notably OxyContin, are growing problems in North Carolina. Law enforcement officers in several jurisdictions have conducted prescription fraud investigations, and thefts of pharmaceuticals are increasing. Thieves frequently target retail pharmacies, medical clinics, and nursing homes.


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/ 
     RISS:  ndic.riss.net


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