ARCHIVED      Text Version     PDF Version     To Publications Page     To Home Page

NDIC seal linked to Home Page.

 

National Drug Intelligence Center.

   

Title:

West Virginia Drug Threat Assessment

West Virginia Drug Threat Assessment.Publication Date: August 2003

Document ID: 2003-S0379WV-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 strategic assessment that addresses the status and outlook of the drug threat to West Virginia. 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 West Virginia.

Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time.  Addresses are provided at the end of the page.
Flag image Stockbyte.


                       

Contents 

Executive Summary

Overview
 Fast Facts

Cocaine
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  Production
  Transportation
  Distribution

Diverted Pharmaceuticals
  Abuse
  Availability
  Violence
  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

Outlook

Sources


List of Tables 

Table 1. Drug-Related Federal Sentences and Percentages by Drug Type, West Virginia and United States, FY2001
Table 2. Drug-Related Treatment Admissions, West Virginia, 1998-2000
Table 3. Cocaine Prices, West Virginia, 2002
Table 4. Federal Drug Seizures in Kilograms, West Virginia, 1998-2002
Table 5. Pharmaceutical-Related Treatment Admissions, West Virginia, 1998-2000
Table 6. Marijuana Prices, West Virginia, 2002
Table 7. Cannabis Plots and Grows Seized and Plants Eradicated, West Virginia, 1998-2002
Table 8. Methamphetamine Prices, West Virginia, 2002


Executive Summary

The production, distribution, and abuse of illicit drugs and the diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals pose serious threats to West Virginia. Law enforcement officials report that drug transporters primarily use private and commercial vehicles to transport illicit drugs into and through West Virginia. Caucasian and African American local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups, composed primarily of family members and friends, are the principal transporters and wholesale- and retail-level distributors of most illicit drugs available in West Virginia. To a lesser extent, local street gangs such as West Side Posse and outlaw motorcycle gangs such as Barbarians and Pagan's also transport and distribute illicit drugs throughout the state.

Cocaine, particularly crack, poses a significant drug threat to West Virginia. Cocaine is readily available, commonly abused, and frequently associated with violent crime in the state. There were more cocaine-related offenses in the state than offenses for any other illicit drug in 2002. Further, over 57 percent of drug-related federal sentences in West Virginia in fiscal year 2001 were cocaine-related. Caucasian and African American local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups as well as local street gangs such as West Side Posse are the principal transporters and wholesale- and retail-level distributors of cocaine in West Virginia. Powdered cocaine available in the state most frequently is transported via private vehicles from Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and New York, New York. Much of the powdered cocaine transported into the state is converted into crack locally; however, some crack available in the state is transported via private vehicles primarily from Chicago, Illinois; Ohio; and Pennsylvania. African American local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups as well as local street gangs such as West Side Posse are the primary retail-level distributors of crack cocaine--wholesale-level distribution is rare. Powdered cocaine and crack are distributed from private residences, bars, and hotel rooms throughout the state. Crack also is distributed from open-air drug markets and low-income housing projects.

Diverted pharmaceuticals pose a serious drug threat to West Virginia, rivaling that of cocaine in many areas of the state. Diverted pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Dilaudid are readily available, commonly abused, and frequently associated with property crimes throughout the state. Further, treatment data indicate that there were more pharmaceutical-related treatment admissions in 2000 than admissions for any illicit drug except marijuana. Caucasian local independent dealers, abusers, and loosely organized criminal groups are the principal transporters and distributors of diverted pharmaceuticals in West Virginia. Diverted pharmaceuticals typically are sold from private residences, bars, and at open-air drug markets.

Marijuana is the most widely available and commonly abused illicit drug in West Virginia. However, the drug generally is regarded as a lower threat than cocaine and diverted pharmaceuticals because it is less often associated with violent crime and property crime. Most of the marijuana available in West Virginia is produced in Mexico; however, a substantial amount is produced locally and in neighboring states by Caucasian local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups that are composed primarily of family members and close friends. Caucasian and, to a lesser extent, African American local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs such as Pagan's and local street gangs such as West Side Posse are the principal transporters and wholesale- and retail-level distributors of marijuana in West Virginia. These dealers, groups, and gangs transport marijuana from southwestern states, Florida, and surrounding states, among other areas, to West Virginia primarily via private vehicles and, to a lesser extent, commercial vehicles and package delivery services. Marijuana typically is distributed from open-air drug markets, private residences and bars, and on college campuses. Caucasian local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups frequently transport locally produced marijuana from West Virginia to surrounding states, such as Ohio and Maryland, and as far south as Florida.

To Top     To Contents

Methamphetamine poses an increasing drug threat to West Virginia and is the primary drug threat in Wood County. Statewide, treatment data indicate low levels of methamphetamine abuse. However, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports that the level of methamphetamine abuse likely is not reflected in the number of treatment admissions because methamphetamine is a relatively new abuse problem. Most of the methamphetamine available in West Virginia is produced locally, with availability levels varying from high to low among communities throughout the state. Caucasian local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups, as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs such as Barbarians and Pagan's, produce and distribute most of the methamphetamine available in West Virginia. Additional quantities of methamphetamine are transported from Mexico as well as from Arizona, California, and Florida via private vehicles and package delivery services. Out-of-state criminal groups, primarily Mexican, increasingly are distributing methamphetamine in West Virginia, particularly in Charleston and the eastern panhandle. Methamphetamine distributed at the retail level in West Virginia typically is packaged in small plastic bags or candy dispensers and sold from private residences and bars.

Heroin poses a low but increasing threat to West Virginia. Heroin abuse levels in West Virginia are low; however, state and local law enforcement officials report that abuse is increasing in cities such as Martinsburg and Weirton where the drug is being abused as a substitute for OxyContin. Statewide, heroin availability is limited. South American heroin is the type most readily available. Limited quantities of heroin produced in Mexico, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia also are available. Caucasian and African American local independent dealers and loosely organized criminal groups, as well as local street gangs such as West Side Posse, are the principal transporters and retail-level distributors of heroin in West Virginia--wholesale-level distribution is limited. Most of the heroin available in West Virginia is transported into the state via private vehicles from Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; New York, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Columbus, and Steubenville, Ohio; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. Heroin is sold at open-air drug markets as well as from private residences, hotel rooms, and bars in West Virginia.

Other dangerous drugs, including MDMA, GHB and its analogs, ketamine, and LSD, pose lesser drug threats to West Virginia. Availability and abuse of these drugs is limited throughout most of the state. Caucasian young adults are the principal retail-level distributors of MDMA, GHB, and ketamine in the state; however, African American males are the principal retail-level distributors of MDMA in Wheeling and Weirton. Outlaw motorcycle gangs such as Pagan's are the principal retail-level distributors of LSD throughout the state. 


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


To Top     To Contents     To Next Page

To Publications Page     To Home Page


End of page.