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NDIC seal linked to Home Page. National Drug Intelligence Center
Arkansas Drug Threat Assessment
October 2003

Heroin

Heroin poses a low threat to Arkansas. Mexican black tar heroin and brown powdered heroin are available on a limited basis, primarily in the larger cities in the state such as Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, and West Memphis. Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters of heroin into Arkansas. Local Caucasian independent distributors also transport heroin into Arkansas to a limited extent. Heroin generally is not distributed at the wholesale level in the state. Mexican criminal groups and local independent dealers are the primary retail distributors of heroin.

   

Abuse

Rates of heroin abuse are generally low throughout the state. According to the NDTS 2002, of the 16 law enforcement respondents in Arkansas who rated the level of heroin abuse in their jurisdictions, 12 indicated that abuse was low, 3 indicated that abuse was moderate, and only 1 indicated that abuse was high.

Heroin-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in Arkansas decreased during the past several years. According to TEDS, the number of heroin-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in Arkansas decreased 31 percent from 75 in 1998 to 52 in 2002. Arkansas Department of Health statistics indicate that the number of heroin-related treatment admissions decreased 46 percent from 109 in SFY1998 to 59 in SFY2002. (See Table 1 in Overview section.) (Disparities between federal and state reporting on admissions to substance abuse treatment programs likely occur because of differences in data collection and reporting methodologies.)

Heroin abuse among Arkansas youth is equivalent to the national percentage. According to the 2001 YRBS, 3.1 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 in Arkansas reported having used heroin at least once in their lifetime, compared to 3.0 percent nationwide.

  

Availability

Mexico-produced heroin is available on a limited basis in Arkansas. Mexican black tar heroin is available in limited quantities in Fayetteville, Siloam Springs, Springdale, and Franklin County, and Mexican brown powdered heroin is available in limited quantities in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, West Memphis, and Franklin County.

The amount of heroin seized in Arkansas has been low over the past several years. According to FDSS data, federal law enforcement officials in Arkansas seized 2.2 kilograms of heroin in 1998 and 2.0 kilograms in 1999. No seizures of heroin were reported to FDSS from 2000 through 2002. Likewise, no heroin seizures were reported to Operation Pipeline in 2000 or 2001.

The percentage of heroin-related federal sentences in Arkansas is lower than the national percentage. According to USSC data, in FY2001 heroin accounted for zero percent of drug-related federal sentences in Arkansas, compared with 7.2 percent nationally. There were 0 federal sentences for heroin-related offenses in Arkansas in FY1997, 1 in FY1998, 1 in FY1999, 1 in FY2000, and 0 in FY2001.

Heroin prices in Arkansas are relatively stable. According to the DEA New Orleans Division, heroin consistently has sold for $250 to $300 per gram in Fayetteville since FY2000 and for $600 per gram in Little Rock since FY2001. The DEA New Orleans Division did not report prices for Fort Smith because of the drug's limited availability in that jurisdiction. DEA STRIDE data indicate that the average purity of heroin in FY2002 in Arkansas was 44.3 percent.

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Violence

Heroin generally is not associated with violence in Arkansas. However, heroin abusers sometimes commit property crimes in order to acquire money to obtain the drug.

  

Production

Opium is not cultivated, nor is heroin produced in Arkansas. Heroin is produced in four source regions: South America, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Mexico. The heroin available in Arkansas is produced in Mexico; other types generally are not available.

  

Transportation

Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters of heroin into Arkansas. They transport small quantities of heroin into Arkansas from southwestern states, generally in private vehicles via the interstate highway system. Local Caucasian independent distributors also transport heroin into Arkansas to a limited extent.

  

Distribution

Heroin generally is not distributed at the wholesale level in the state. Mexican criminal groups and local independent dealers are the primary retail distributors of heroin in the state. According to the NDTS 2002, law enforcement authorities in Little Rock identified Mexican criminal groups as the primary retail distributors of heroin in their jurisdiction, while law enforcement authorities in Siloam Springs, West Memphis, Poinsett County, and Washington County identified local independent dealers as the primary retail heroin distributors in their jurisdictions. Law enforcement authorities in Franklin County identified both Mexican criminal groups and local independent dealers as retail heroin distributors in their jurisdiction.

 


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