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 National Drug Intelligence Center.



Maine Drug Threat Assessment


Maine Drug Threat Assessment.Publication Date:  April 2001

Document ID: 2001-S0377ME-001

Available Maine Assessments
   2003 Update: August 2003
2002 Update: April 2002
Original: April 2001

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 in Maine. 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 in Maine.

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Executive Summary 

Fast Facts




Other Dangerous Drugs 
  Prescription Drugs 
  Psilocybin Mushrooms 




List of Figures 

Figure 1. Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force Offices. 
Chart 1. Maine, Drug Crimes 1995-1998
Chart 2. Maine, Total Crimes 1995-1998

List of Tables 

Table 1. Maine Primary Drug Treatment Admissions
Table 2. Maine Drug Arrests FY1998-FY2000

Executive Summary

Cocaine and heroin are Maine's primary drug threats based on their addictive properties, availability, and abuse. Cocaine is transported to Maine from several locations primarily in privately owned, borrowed, and leased vehicles and by way of public transportation. Maine health department data show that cocaine abuse remains stable. However, law enforcement reports that powdered cocaine abuse is stable while the conversion of powdered cocaine into crack and the abuse of crack are increasing in the state. Powdered cocaine is distributed throughout the state while most crack cocaine distribution is limited to southern Maine. Despite a 40 percent drop in fiscal year 2000 Maine Drug Enforcement Agency crack cocaine-related arrests, 28 percent of all Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrests were cocaine-related. Dominican criminal groups operating in Massachusetts are the primary suppliers of cocaine to Maine. Most powdered cocaine dealers are Caucasian while most crack cocaine dealers are Hispanic, particularly Dominican.

Heroin availability and use are increasing in the state, reflecting a trend noted throughout New England. Law enforcement authorities in Bangor, Lewiston, Lyman, and Portland report increases in heroin abuse in fiscal year 2000. The Bangor Police Department cites heroin as the primary drug threat in its city, Maine's third largest. Authorities in Aroostook and Washington Counties in northern Maine are the only ones reporting negligible heroin use. However, law enforcement sources believe that could change as people in those counties currently paying $80 for an 80-milligram tablet of OxyContin discover that heroin use provides similar effects at a lower cost. The 29 percent jump in heroin treatment admissions in Maine during the first 9 months of 2000, and action taken by Acadia Hospital officials to obtain a state license to open the first methadone clinic in the city of Bangor are indicators of increasing heroin abuse. A 40 percent increase in Maine Drug Enforcement Agency heroin-related arrests and a 166 percent increase in heroin seizures in fiscal year 2000 are further indicators of the extent of the heroin threat in the state. Dominican criminal groups operating in Massachusetts are the primary suppliers of heroin in Maine. Independent, Caucasian dealers form the backbone of retail heroin operations in Maine.

Marijuana is the most readily available and widely abused drug in the state where 65 percent of those aged 26 to 34 report using marijuana at least once in their lifetime. The percentage only drops to 55 percent among those aged 35 to 50. While locally produced marijuana is readily available in Maine; most comes from Mexico. Marijuana produced in Canada from hydroponically cultivated cannabis sells for a premium in Maine because of its high THC content. Many distributors and small- and medium-sized grow operations function throughout the state; however, there are no dominant criminal groups. In November 1999, Maine became the first New England state and the sixth state in the nation to adopt a law supporting the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions; however, implementation of this law is unresolved and continues to be a matter of public debate.

An increase in the abuse of other dangerous drugs, particularly prescription drugs, is evident in Maine. Prescription drug abuse is a major concern for authorities. OxyContin, the diverted pharmaceutical drug of choice, retails on the street for $1 per milligram. The abuse of pharmaceuticals is increasing throughout the state and has become the primary drug threat in Washington County. The increase in the number of treatment admissions for opiate addiction during 1999 and 2000--excluding those stemming from the abuse of heroin--is an indicator of the extent of the opiate-based prescription drug problem. Also, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms continue to be secondary drug problems while MDMA is just beginning to emerge. All three have been seized at rave dance parties held in the state.

Methamphetamine abuse is not a significant threat. In the past, methamphetamine primarily was available in the northern part of the state where it was shipped from the southwestern United States in express mail packages. In September 2000, law enforcement discovered the first methamphetamine laboratory in Maine since 1991, but the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency believes that it represents an isolated incident and is not an indicator of a more substantial problem.



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