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California Northern and Eastern Districts Drug Threat Assessment
Northern California's remote, forested land affords opportunities for the clandestine production of methamphetamine and the cultivation of cannabis. California's excellent interstate highways facilitate the shipment of drugs within California and throughout the country. Mexican groups, the primary traffickers of drugs in Northern California, transport drugs from California to all parts of the United States. In all likelihood this will continue.
Methamphetamine likely will remain the most serious illicit drug threat in Northern California. Despite tighter state and federal regulations and reporting requirements for methamphetamine precursor chemicals, producers are able to procure enough to saturate the area with inexpensive methamphetamine. State and federal agencies can expect adverse social and medical effects from methamphetamine abuse to continue. State agencies expect that the cost of environmental cleanup will continue to rise, especially in the Central Valley.
Heroin represents the next most serious threat; heroin treatment admissions are higher than for any other drug. The demand for high-purity, low-cost heroin will continue to fuel the flow from Mexico to Northern California and from there to other parts of the country. Opium use will remain largely confined to the Laotian community.
Cocaine and crack are recapturing some of the market share lost to methamphetamine over the past decade. The purity of cocaine has remained consistently higher than that of methamphetamine. Crack-related violence continues to be a concern.
Large-scale marijuana grows on public lands will continue to strain law enforcement resources. Growers tending these sites will continue to use violence to protect their plants.
The popularity of drugs such as LSD, MDMA, and GHB will continue to grow. Abuse, particularly among urban youth, will lead to increased treatment admissions, long-term health concerns, and further strains on social welfare and law enforcement agencies.
Authorities in Central California report that ethnic groups that would not necessarily associate in the past have now joined forces to produce and distribute illicit narcotics. In some cases, these new, loose coalitions have recruited violent gang members to be their enforcement arm. If these new associations solidify, law enforcement efforts to target a particular group will become more complicated.
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