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NDIC seal linked to Home page. National Drug Intelligence Center
Florida Drug Threat Assessment
July 2003

Outlook

The size and diversity of Florida's population and the wide array of transportation options make the state an ideal location for the transportation, distribution, and abuse of illicit drugs. These factors, coupled with the state's proximity to drug source and transit countries, international banks, and offshore banking centers ensure that DTOs and criminal groups will continue to exploit Florida's infrastructure to facilitate their drug trafficking and money laundering activities. Colombian, Russian, Israeli, and Western European DTOs and criminal groups; Mexican and Jamaican criminal groups; and local independent Caucasian dealers will likely continue to dominate the wholesale distribution of drugs in Florida.

The distribution and abuse of powdered and crack cocaine will continue to be a significant illicit drug threat to Florida. Violence will continue to be associated with crack distribution in Florida, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods and low-income housing projects. Colombian DTOs and criminal groups will maintain control of the supply of cocaine to and within Florida; however, various other DTOs and criminal groups, often working on their behalf, will likely distribute increasing quantities of cocaine in the state.

The distribution and abuse of heroin will continue to pose a threat. Miami and Orlando will remain primary transportation hubs and distribution centers for South American heroin. Most of the heroin available in Florida will continue to originate in South America; however, the availability of heroin produced in Mexico may increase as distributors attempt to increase their market share. Colombian DTOs and criminal groups likely will remain the primary wholesale distributors of South American heroin in Florida.

The production, availability, and abuse of methamphetamine will likely increase in Florida, particularly in the northern and panhandle areas. Most of the methamphetamine available in Florida will continue to be produced in high volume laboratories in Mexico, California, and southwestern states. However, the availability of locally produced methamphetamine, particularly in the northern areas of the state where law enforcement officials report an increasing number of laboratory seizures, will continue to increase. Crystal methamphetamine will become increasingly popular among nightclub attendees in the larger metropolitan areas.

Marijuana will continue to be the most widely available and abused illicit drug in Florida. Significant quantities of marijuana are produced in Florida; however, most of the marijuana available in the state will continue to be produced in Jamaica or Mexico. Mexican and Jamaican criminal groups--with their established transportation and distribution networks--will remain dominant marijuana transporters and distributors; however, various other criminal groups and independent dealers will continue to transport and distribute the drug in Florida.

MDMA will remain readily available and commonly abused, particularly in or near large metropolitan areas. It is likely that the availability of MDMA in smaller cities and towns throughout the state will increase even more. Miami will continue to serve as a regional distribution center for wholesale quantities of MDMA. Israeli and Russian DTOs and criminal groups have dominated the transportation of MDMA into Florida, and there are no indications that this will change; however, Caribbean and Colombian criminal groups will likely become more involved in transporting MDMA into Florida. Colombian criminal groups also may increase their involvement in wholesale MDMA distribution. Although MDMA primarily is distributed at raves or techno parties, private parties, nightclubs, and on high school and college campuses, it is likely that distribution will expand to open-air markets and other venues in which the other major illicit drugs also are available. According to Florida treatment providers, as MDMA abuse becomes more widespread in Florida, some users will seek new ways of administering the drug, possibly by snorting or injecting.

Other dangerous drugs such as GHB, LSD, ketamine, and diverted pharmaceuticals generally are available and abused to a lesser extent than most other illicit drugs in Florida. However, most federal, state, and local law enforcement officials report that the rate of abuse of these drugs, particularly diverted pharmaceuticals, is increasing more rapidly than for any other drug, and it is likely that this trend will continue. However, the abuse of OxyContin will likely decrease as the drug's availability decreases and its price increases. For example, in Port St. Lucie the cost of a diverted 80-milligram OxyContin tablet has increased from a range of $35 to $50 to approximately $50 to $80. By comparison, heroin can be purchased for $10 per dosage unit. As a result, abusers will seek alternate drugs such as methadone and heroin.

 


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