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Arkansas Drug Threat Assessment
October 2003

Other Dangerous Drugs

Other dangerous drugs (ODDs) pose varying threats to Arkansas. ODDs include the club drugs MDMA, GHB and its analogs, LSD, and Rohypnol; the hallucinogen psilocybin; inhalants; and diverted pharmaceuticals, including hydrocodone (Lortab, Lorcet, Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), codeine, and benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax.) Club drugs and psilocybin are transported into Arkansas in private vehicles, by couriers aboard commercial aircraft, and via package delivery services. Many of these drugs are distributed and abused by middle-class, suburban young adults and college students at raves, nightclubs, and on college campuses. Inhalant abusers, primarily adolescents, inhale chemical vapors from a variety of substances, many of which are common household products. Diverted pharmaceuticals generally are obtained throughout the state by diversion techniques including improper prescribing practices, prescription forgery, and "doctor shopping."


Throughout the 1990s high energy, all-night dances known as raves, which feature techno music and flashing laser lights, increased in popularity among teens and young adults. Raves typically occur in either permanent dance clubs or temporary "weekend event" sites set up in abandoned warehouses, open fields, empty buildings, or civic centers. Club drugs are a group of synthetic drugs often sold at raves and dance clubs. MDMA is one of the most popular club drugs. Rave managers often sell water, bubble gum, glow sticks, and mentholated cream at rave parties. "Ravers" drink water to offset dehydration caused by MDMA; chew bubble gum to avoid grinding their teeth (a common side effect of MDMA); wave glow sticks in front of their eyes because MDMA stimulates light perception; and apply mentholated cream to their nostrils to produce a rush of feeling called freeze.



Club Drugs

MDMA. The increasing availability and abuse of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), particularly among teenagers and young adults, pose a growing threat to Arkansas. MDMA, also known as ecstasy, XTC, E, and X, is a stimulant and low-level hallucinogen. MDMA is generally taken orally in tablet or capsule form. MDMA abuse is a concern among law enforcement and public health agencies in Arkansas because the drug can cause psychological problems similar to those associated with methamphetamine and cocaine abuse including confusion, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety, and paranoia. The physical effects can include severe dehydration, muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, blurred vision, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. MDMA also can cause a marked increase in body temperature leading to muscle breakdown, kidney failure, cardiovascular system failure, stroke, or seizure. MDMA abuse may result in long-term, permanent damage to parts of the brain that are critical to thought and memory.

The availability and abuse of MDMA are increasing in Arkansas, particularly among young adults and in cities with colleges and universities. Law enforcement officials in Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Searcy, Texarkana, Franklin County, and Garland County report high levels of MDMA abuse and availability in their jurisdictions, while officials in Conway, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Little Rock, Springdale, West Memphis, Polk County, Pulaski County, and Washington County report moderate levels of abuse and availability.

MDMA Distributors Indicted

In October 2002 the DEA Administrator and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas announced indictments against eight individuals from central Arkansas and Florida on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 60,000 MDMA tablets. The indictments followed a 19-month investigation that was initiated in March 2001 by the North Little Rock Police Department after officers noted an increase in the number of MDMA-related arrests at raves. The investigation ultimately expanded to Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and France. Other law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation include the Sherwood Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, and Pulaski County Sheriff's Office.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration Little Rock District Office.


Most MDMA available in Arkansas is produced outside the United States, typically in laboratories in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is transported by couriers aboard commercial aircraft through national-level distribution centers such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. From these distribution centers, MDMA generally is transported by private vehicle or via package delivery services directly into Arkansas or to regional distribution centers such as Dallas and Memphis for eventual transport to Arkansas and other states in the region. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state identify Caucasian local independent dealers as the primary transporters of MDMA into and throughout Arkansas. Law enforcement officers in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Greenwood, Jonesboro, Texarkana, West Memphis, Franklin County, Garland County, and Washington County report that MDMA sold in their jurisdictions is transported from Dallas, Memphis, Shreveport, and Tulsa. Law enforcement officers in El Dorado and Pine Bluff report that MDMA sold in their jurisdictions is transported from Little Rock.

Caucasian local independent dealers dominate the distribution of MDMA at the wholesale and retail levels in Arkansas. They typically distribute MDMA at rave parties, nightclubs, and college campuses in the state. Raves are becoming increasingly popular in Arkansas, particularly in Fayetteville and Little Rock. The DEA New Orleans Division reports that MDMA tablets generally sell for $20 to $35 each in Arkansas.

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GHB and Analogs. The threat to Arkansas from GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and its analogs is increasing. GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy, grievous bodily harm, and Georgia home boy, is an illicit drug known for its euphoric, sedative, and anabolic effects. GHB is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, and its effects include drowsiness, sedation, loss of consciousness, and anterograde amnesia. It often is administered to intended victims of sexual assault. GHB is difficult to detect in abusers or victims of sexual assault because the drug is quickly metabolized in the body.

GHB analogs, drugs that possess chemical structures similar to GHB, also are abused in Arkansas. The most commonly encountered GHB analogs in Arkansas are GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) and BD (1,4-butanediol). GBL is a solvent commonly used as a paint stripper. BD is a chemical used in the production of plastics and adhesives. GBL and BD convert to GHB upon ingestion. GBL is widely available as a powder and liquid at gyms, fitness centers, and some disreputable health food stores. BD can be produced in clear liquid, white powder, tablet, and capsule forms.

The availability and abuse of GHB and its analogs in Arkansas is increasing. Law enforcement officials in Arkansas indicate that college students, particularly young Caucasian males, are the primary transporters and distributors of GHB. Distributors typically drive to Texas or California in private vehicles to purchase the drug, then transport it to Arkansas for distribution at raves, nightclubs, and on college campuses. The drug usually is sold by the capful (approximately 1 teaspoon) for $25.

LSD. The distribution and abuse of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is an emerging threat to Arkansas. LSD, also known as acid, boomers, and yellow sunshine, is a hallucinogen that induces abnormalities in sensory perceptions. The effects of LSD are unpredictable and depend on the amount taken, the environment in which it is used, and the user's personality, mood, and expectations. Abusers may feel the effects for up to 12 hours. Physical effects include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, nausea, numbness, weakness, insomnia, dry mouth, and tremors. Two long-term disorders associated with LSD are persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (flashbacks). LSD typically is ingested orally.

Most LSD available in Arkansas is produced in California and transported by private vehicle or package delivery services to Arkansas either directly or via regional distribution centers such as Dallas and Houston. LSD generally is distributed by college-age Caucasian males at colleges, rave parties, and concerts. High school and college students and young adults are the primary abusers of LSD in the state. LSD is available and sold in powder and liquid forms, in tablets or capsules, on pieces of blotter paper that absorb the drug, and on small candies. Some dealers reportedly use an eyedropper to place LSD on a purchaser's tongue to ensure that the individual is not an undercover law enforcement officer. The DEA New Orleans Division Office reports that LSD sells for $4 to $8 per dose in Little Rock and for $10 to $20 per dose in Fayetteville.

Rohypnol. Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is not widely available and poses a limited threat to Arkansas. Rohypnol, also known as roofies, rophies, Roche, and the forget-me pill, is a powerful sedative--up to 10 times stronger than Valium. It is not approved for prescription use in the United States but is used legally in more than 70 countries to treat sleep disorders or for use as a preanesthetic medication. Rohypnol is odorless and tasteless, and dissolves in beverages. It produces sedative-hypnotic effects, including muscle relaxation and severe amnesia, and can cause physiological and psychological dependence. Rohypnol reportedly is available and distributed to a limited extent at colleges and universities, raves, nightclubs, and bars in Arkansas. One milligram of Rohypnol can impair or incapacitate a victim for 8 to 12 hours. The use of alcohol, with which Rohypnol often is mixed, exacerbates the effects of the drug.

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Psilocybin. The distribution and abuse of psilocybin pose a low threat to Arkansas. Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms typically are dried prior to consumption, and may be crushed into a white powder. Taken in nontoxic doses, psilocybin produces changes in perception, thought, and mood. Effects typically last for approximately 6 hours. Typical abusers are young Caucasian adults, generally in their early twenties or younger. Psilocybin mushrooms are sold in Arkansas near colleges or universities and at concerts. Distributors transport psilocybin mushrooms into Arkansas from southwestern states using overnight package delivery services and private vehicles.



The abuse of inhalants, commonly called huffing, occurs in Arkansas; however, it may be underreported because law enforcement officials and healthcare providers are often unfamiliar with the signs of inhalant abuse. Abusers, primarily adolescents, inhale chemical vapors from a variety of substances, many of which are common household products. Other methods of abuse include spraying aerosols directly into the nose or mouth or pouring inhalants onto the abuser's collar, sleeves, or cuffs and sniffing them over a period of time (such as during a class in school). Abusers reportedly use inhalants to obtain a euphoric effect and often are unaware of the potential risks, which include brain damage and even death. Some abusers also use inhalants, particularly nitrites, in an attempt to enhance their sexual experiences.

High school students in Arkansas abuse inhalants at a rate comparable to students nationwide. According to the 2001 YRBS, 14.1 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 in Arkansas reported using inhalants at least once in their lifetime, compared to 14.7 percent nationwide.


Diverted Pharmaceuticals

Diverted pharmaceuticals pose an increasing threat to Arkansas. The most commonly abused pharmaceuticals in Arkansas are hydrocodone products (Lortab, Vicodin, Lorcet). Other frequently abused pharmaceuticals include codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and benzodiazepines (Valium and Xanax).

Prescription drugs are diverted by a number of means in Arkansas such as improper prescribing practices, pharmacy burglary, armed robbery, employee theft, and "doctor shopping"--a practice in which a patient visits multiple physicians to acquire numerous prescriptions. Some individuals recruit known or potential patients and use several vehicles to transport the patients to several doctors in many communities in a single day or week to conduct large-scale doctor shopping sprees. Diverted pharmaceuticals also are transported into Arkansas by couriers, in private vehicles, or via package delivery services. The distribution of diverted pharmaceuticals in Arkansas has progressed over recent years from individuals selling to friends and acquaintances to individuals working in concert to sell large quantities from street corners, vehicles, or private residences. According to the DEA New Orleans Division, OxyContin sells for $25 per 20-milligram tablet, and Dilaudid sells for $40 to $60 per 4-milligram tablet in Little Rock. No other pricing information is available.


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