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Delaware Drug Threat Assessment
March 2002


The threat of illicit drugs in Delaware will probably remain high because of the state's proximity to multiple drug transportation hubs and distribution centers. The ready availability of inexpensive drugs in nearby metropolitan areas such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., will continue to attract local independent dealers from Delaware.

Heroin will continue to pose the greatest drug threat to Delaware because of the large number of abusers who consume low cost, high purity heroin. Heroin abuse and availability in New Castle County, particularly in Newark and Wilmington, will likely increase because of the high demand for the drug in that area and its proximity to the primary distribution center of Philadelphia and, to a much lesser extent, to Baltimore, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Heroin availability and abuse may increase in southern, rural Kent and Sussex Counties as dealers attempt to expand their markets.

The rate of cocaine abuse will probably remain stable at a high level in Delaware. The distribution and abuse of crack historically has been associated with more violent crime than any other drug, and that trend is likely to continue.

Marijuana will continue to be the most readily available and widely abused drug in Delaware. Abuse levels should continue to remain high among the younger population, many of whom recognize that the drug is inexpensive and easy to purchase. As cannabis cultivation increases, greater competition among distributors may lead to lower prices, increased demand, and more incidents of violence.

MDMA availability and abuse will probably increase, particularly among teenagers and young adults. MDMA will remain popular until young individuals become aware that its abuse may result in law enforcement action, serious health problems, and even death.

Methamphetamine will remain available at a moderate level in Delaware, and its popularity compared with that of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and MDMA should remain low. Availability and abuse of methamphetamine will possibly increase in northern Delaware, spurred by increased methamphetamine production in the Philadelphia area, but not enough to significantly affect statewide levels of availability and abuse.


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