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|National Drug Intelligence Center
National Drug Threat Assessment 2005
Other Dangerous Drugs
The trafficking and abuse of other dangerous drugs (ODDs), which include GHB, ketamine, LSD, and PCP, continue to pose a moderate threat overall to the United States. Their availability and abuse is relatively stable overall at moderate levels. These drugs are particularly popular among adolescents and young adults in metropolitan areas; however, use of ODDs may be expanding into smaller cities and rural areas. Primarily GHB, but also ketamine, have added concerns in that they are sometimes used in the commission of drug-facilitated sexual assaults.
According to NDTS 2004 data, less than 1 percent of all state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide identify ODDs as the greatest drug threat to their areas. Only a few agencies in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest Regions identify an ODD as their greatest drug threat. In the Midwest just 0.2 percent of agencies identify ketamine or LSD as their greatest drug threat. In the Northeast 0.3 percent of agencies identify GHB and 0.1 identify PCP as their greatest drug threat; 0.1 percent identify PCP as the greatest drug threat in the Southeast Region as well. In the Southwest Region 0.1 percent of agencies identify GHB as their greatest drug threat.
GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, is a powerful central nervous system depressant that is used illicitly, often for its euphoric and sedative effects but also for the commission of drug-facilitated sexual assault. GHB trafficking and abuse have become a particular concern to law enforcement and public health agencies because of increasing availability of the drug in some areas, sharp increases in ED mentions for GHB since the mid-1990s, and the use of GHB in the commission of drug-facilitated sexual assault.
Despite rising concerns, relatively few state and local law enforcement agencies identify GHB as the greatest drug threat in their areas. According to NDTS 2004 data, only 0.1 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies identify GHB as the greatest drug threat in their areas.
GHB is available to varying degrees in every state, and overall availability appears to be increasing slightly. Only a limited number of federal law enforcement agencies report that GHB is readily or widely available. These agencies include Atlanta, Arizona, Gulf Coast, New York/ New Jersey, Oregon, South Texas, and Washington/Baltimore HIDTAs and DEA Field Divisions in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles. Most HIDTA offices and DEA Field Divisions report that GHB availability is moderate or low; just four HIDTAs and two DEA Field Divisions report that availability is increasing.
NDTS data indicate that GHB availability is relatively stable overall. NDTS 2004 data reveal that 20.0 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide report high or moderate GHB availability, compared to 20.7 percent in 2003. In 2004 more than half (61.2%) of state and local law enforcement agencies report GHB availability as low. However, the percentage of state and local law enforcement agencies reporting that GHB is not available in their areas declined from 15.8 percent in 2003 to 14.8 percent in 2004.
DEA drug seizure and arrest data indicate that the number of GHB samples submitted for testing and the numbers of GHB-related19 arrests and investigations have increased. According to STRIDE data, the number of GHB samples submitted for testing has fluctuated but increased overall from 100,218 milliliters in 2001 to 130,444 milliliters in 2003. The number of DEA arrests for GHB-related offenses increased from none in 2002 to nine in 2003. Similarly, the number of GHB-related investigations by DEA increased from 8 in 2002 to 19 in 2003.
Adolescents, particularly twelfth graders, appear to be the predominant users of GHB. MTF data for 2004 reveal that rates of past year use of GHB among twelfth graders were 2.0 percent compared with 0.8 percent among tenth graders and 0.9 percent among eighth graders. MTF data indicate that past year rates of GHB use among college students (aged 19 to 22) and young adults (aged 19 to 28) were lower than those of tenth and twelfth graders at 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, in 2003. Although MTF data indicate that adolescents are the predominant users of GHB, DAWN data indicate that young adults are the predominant GHB user group entering hospital emergency departments for treatment of GHB-induced symptoms. DAWN data for 2002 indicate that 54.4 percent (1,812 of 3,330) of GHB ED mentions were attributed to persons aged 18 to 25, followed by persons aged 26 to 34, a group that accounted for 32.2 percent (1,071 of 3,330) of total GHB ED mentions.
MTF 2003 data indicate that males account for a higher rate of GHB use than females. Past year GHB use was reported by 0.9, 1.6, and 2.0 percent of eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade males, respectively, compared with 0.9, 1.2, and 0.8 percent of eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade females. MTF data also indicate higher past year GHB use among adult males than females (1.2% compared with 0.2%). DAWN data also indicate that Caucasian males account for more GHB ED mentions than other ethnic or gender groups. DAWN data for 2002 reveal that 89.4 percent (2,978 of 3,330) of GHB ED mentions were attributed to Caucasians and 65.8 percent (2,192 of 3,330) of GHB ED mentions were attributed to males.
MTF data suggest that GHB use is lower in large metropolitan areas for younger adolescents and higher in those areas for older adolescents and adults. According to MTF data, rates of past year use of GHB for eighth (1.0%) and tenth graders (0.9%) in Large MSAs were lower than rates for eighth (1.3%) and tenth graders (1.7%) in Non-MSAs in 2003. Among twelfth graders and adults aged 19 to 30, rates were higher in urban areas (1.1% and 0.7%, respectively) than rural areas (0.8% and 0.2%, respectively).
Users of GHB seek the drug's euphoric and sedative properties. The physical and psychological effects of GHB are largely dose-dependent but also are influenced by factors such as the user's weight and health, whether the drug is taken on a full stomach, and whether the user is well-hydrated. Although potency varies greatly, the onset of the drug's effects generally occurs within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion, and effects persist typically for 3 to 6 hours (see Table 22).
GHB use appears to be trending downward overall among eighth and tenth graders and has fluctuated among twelfth graders. MTF data show that from 2000 to 2004, past year use of GHB among eighth and tenth graders trended downward from 1.2 to 0.7 percent and 1.1 to 0.8 percent, respectively, while rates have fluctuated from 1.9 percent in 2000, to 1.5 percent in 2002, to 2.0 percent in 2004. MTF is the only national-level study that tracks past year rates of use of GHB among adults, and only 2 years of data are available. Nevertheless, MTF data for 2003 reveal that rates of past year use of GHB declined, albeit only slightly, among college students aged 19 to 22 (0.6% to 0.3%) and among young adults aged 19 to 28 (0.8% to 0.6%).
The consequences of GHB use appear to be stabilizing. According to DAWN data, the estimated number of GHB ED mentions increased sharply from 1995 (145) to 2000 (4,969) but then decreased to 3,340 in 2001. In 2002, the estimated number of ED mentions for GHB trended downward, although not significantly, to 3,330.
Oral consumption of liquid GHB is the most common mode of administration, although GHB in capsule and tablet forms also is available, as is powder GHB, which is snorted. Because of the drug's salty taste, liquid GHB typically is mixed into a beverage.
GHB is produced illegally in domestic and foreign laboratories; however, there are no generally accepted estimates as to how much GHB is produced illegally each year. Law enforcement sources report that GHB is produced in most regions of the country: seven HIDTAs (Central Florida, Midwest, Nevada, North Texas, Oregon, Rocky Mountain, and South Florida) report production in their areas. Nevertheless, NCLSS data show that the number of reported GHB laboratory seizures is low and decreased from 13 in 2001, to 7 in 2002, to 2 in 2003. California law enforcement agencies report the highest number of GHB laboratory seizures each year from 1999 through 2001; however, in 2002 Oregon led all states with two seizures. California and Connecticut each report one seizure in 2003.
Transportation and Distribution
Foreign-produced GHB that is distributed and consumed in the United States typically is smuggled into the country from Canada, Europe, Mexico and, to a lesser extent, Israel. GHB is transported to the United States most often by commercial air, mail services, or private vehicle. Domestically produced GHB typically is transported from laboratory sites to drug markets via private vehicle or mail services. Middle-class Caucasian males between 18 and 30 years of age are the predominant distributors of GHB; however, African American gangs and other diverse independent dealers are active in GHB distribution as well. GHB typically is distributed at raves as well as at nightclubs, bars, gyms, and on college and high school campuses. The GHB analog GBL also is sold over the Internet, where it often is falsely marketed as a cleaning product or nail polish remover. At the retail level, GHB is packaged in plastic bottles and sold to teens and young adults usually for $5 to $30 per dose. A capful (typically the size of the cap from a small water bottle) of liquid GHB is the most common dosage unit at the retail level.
GHB use likely will remain limited. MTF has recorded past year rates of use for GHB among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders only for the past 4 reporting years (2000-2003) and began recording past year rates of use for GHB among adults only in 2002. Therefore, accurate analysis of long-term trends in GHB use is not yet possible; however, the data indicate continued limited use in the near term. MTF data show that despite small fluctuations in rates of GHB use among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders, past year rates of use have not exceeded 2.0 percent in any year among any age group, and rates of use may be trending downward for eighth and twelfth graders. Moreover, MTF data indicate that GHB use has not spread significantly beyond the predominant user group--Caucasian adolescents--to include a greater percentage of other ethnic or age groups.
Ketamine, a Schedule III dissociative anesthetic with a combination of depressant, stimulant, hallucinogenic, and analgesic properties, is used primarily as a preoperative anesthetic for animals. The drug also is approved as an anesthetic for emergency surgery in humans; however, use in humans has been limited because of adverse effects such as hallucinations and delirium.
Ketamine trafficking and abuse pose a moderate to low threat to the United States. According to NDTS 2004 data, just 0.1 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide identified ketamine as their greatest drug threat. In addition, seizure data indicate that ketamine availability is decreasing and that ED mentions appear to be trending downward.
Most HIDTA offices and DEA Field Divisions report that ketamine is available in their areas, and availability appears to be relatively stable at low to moderate levels. A limited number of federal law enforcement agencies report that ketamine is widely or readily available. These agencies include Arizona, New York/New Jersey, Oregon, and South Texas HIDTAs and Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Houston DEA Field Divisions. Only Arizona, Northwest, Rocky Mountain, and South Texas HIDTAs and Houston and New York DEA Field Divisions report that ketamine availability is increasing.
DEA drug seizure data indicate that ketamine availability is decreasing. STRIDE data indicate that the quantity of ketamine samples submitted for testing appears to have peaked at 7,018,589 dosage units in 2001, after increasing from 1,154,504 in 2000. Ketamine samples submitted for testing then dropped to 2,055,672 in 2002, before sharply decreasing to 358,708 in 2003--the lowest amount submitted for testing in the past 4 years.
NDTS data indicate stable to decreasing ketamine availability. NDTS 2004 data reveal that the percentage of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide that identify ketamine availability as high or moderate decreased from 13.6 percent in 2003 to 11.2 percent in 2004. Most agencies (63.7%) report low ketamine availability in 2004, as was the case in 2003 (61.1%). The percentage of state and local law enforcement agencies reporting that ketamine is not available in their areas was nearly unchanged between 2003 (20.8%) and 2004 (20.7%).
Data regarding ketamine use is limited; however, rates of ketamine use appear highest among twelfth graders. MTF data for 2004 show that past year rates of use for ketamine were 0.9 percent for eighth graders, 1.3 percent for tenth graders, and 1.9 percent for twelfth graders. MTF 2003 data indicate that past year rates of ketamine use were 1.0 percent among college students (aged 19 to 22) and 0.9 percent among young adults (aged 19 to 28).
Ketamine rates of use appear to be higher among males than females. MTF data indicate that in 2003, the past year rate of ketamine use among eighth grade males was 1.5 percent compared with 0.8 percent for females. Among tenth graders, the past year rate of ketamine use was 2.5 percent among males compared with 1.4 percent among females. Among twelfth graders, the past year rate of ketamine use was 2.5 percent among males and 1.5 percent among females. MTF data also indicate higher past year ketamine use among adult males than females (1.4% compared with 0.4%). DAWN data indicate that young Caucasian adults are the predominant ketamine user group entering hospital emergency departments for treatment of ketamine-induced symptoms. DAWN data indicate that 64.2 percent (167) of the 260 ED mentions for ketamine in 2002 were Caucasians, and 55.8 percent (145) of total ED mentions for ketamine in 2002 were aged 18 to 25.
Ketamine is used at higher rates in rural areas for all age groups. MTF 2003 data indicate that past year use in Non-MSAs was 1.4 percent for eighth graders, 1.9 percent for tenth graders, and 2.3 percent for twelfth graders, compared with 1.1, 1.7, and 1.8 percent of eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders in Large MSAs. Rates of past year ketamine use also were higher among adults aged 19 to 30 in Farm/Country areas (1.5%) than in a Very Large City (0.6%).
Data regarding ketamine use indicate that rates of use are trending downward among adolescents and young adults; however, none of the declines is statistically significant. MTF data show that the percentage of eighth graders reporting past year ketamine use declined steadily from 1.6 percent in 2000 to 0.9 percent in 2004. Past year rates of use peaked in 2002 but declined overall from 2000 to 2004 among tenth graders (2.1% to 1.3%) and twelfth graders (2.5% to 1.9%). The percentage of college students (aged 19 to 22) reporting past year ketamine use declined from 1.3 percent in 2002 to 1.0 percent in 2003, while the percentage of young adults (aged 19 to 28) declined from 1.2 percent to 0.9 percent.
The consequences of ketamine use have fluctuated greatly in recent years, according to DAWN data. However, ketamine-related ED mentions declined sharply from 2001 to 2002 (see Figure 55).
Ketamine is manufactured commercially as a powder or liquid. Users sometimes evaporate liquid ketamine on hot plates, on warming trays, or in microwave ovens, a process that results in the formation of crystals, which are then ground into powder. Powder ketamine is cut into lines (known as bumps) and snorted, or it is smoked--typically in marijuana or tobacco cigarettes. Liquid ketamine is injected or ingested after being mixed into drinks.
The duration and severity of the effects of ketamine use are dose-dependent and affected by the method of administration as well as the user's weight and health. Common effects include those similar to PCP as well as amnesia, agitation, paralysis, memory loss, unconsciousness, nausea, and delirium. The onset of effects is rapid and often occurs within a few minutes of administration (see Table 23).
Ketamine is produced and sold legally in several countries including Belgium, China, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, and the United States. Clandestine production is difficult and impractical because of the complexity of the ketamine manufacturing process; therefore, the theft or diversion from foreign domestic veterinary offices as well as from foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers is common.
Transportation and Distribution
Diverted ketamine often is smuggled across the border from Mexico by couriers on foot or in private vehicles, but a large amount is increasingly transported from foreign countries via mail services. Distribution of ketamine typically occurs among friends and acquaintances, most often at nightclubs, private parties, and raves. Caucasian males between the ages of 17 and 25 are the primary distributors of ketamine.
According to DEA, the national average price for ketamine in 2003 was $20 to $40 per dosage unit and $65 to $100 per 10-milliliter vial. These figures indicate an overall price increase from 2002 when the national average was $10 to $20 per dosage unit and $10 to $100 per 10-milliliter vial.
Ketamine abuse may decrease in the near term. In addition to reporting relatively low rates of past year use, MTF data indicate that past year rates of ketamine use have trended downward--although not significantly--among adolescents and young adults in recent years. Long-range analysis of past year use is not possible; MTF only began recording past year rates among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders in 2000 and among college students and young adults in 2002. Ketamine-related consequences also appear to be declining. Although DAWN ED mentions for ketamine have fluctuated in past years, data show that ketamine ED mentions have declined overall since 1999.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, is a powerful hallucinogen that alters a user's mood, thoughts, and perceptions and can induce delusions and visual hallucinations that distort the user's sense of time and identity. College-age adults, particularly Caucasian males, are the predominant users of LSD. LSD trafficking and abuse have long been a concern to law enforcement and public health agencies because of the drug's powerful effects; however, national-level data indicate that LSD availability is decreasing and that rates of use have decreased sharply to very low levels.
Anecdotal law enforcement reporting regarding LSD availability is mixed. Reporting from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies indicates that LSD remains available to varying degrees in most metropolitan areas and that availability is very limited in rural areas. Only the DEA Denver Field Division and five HIDTA offices (Gulf Coast, Houston, Midwest, North Texas, and South Texas) report increasing LSD availability in their areas. Limited availability was reported in four DEA Field Divisions (Newark, New York, Seattle, and St. Louis) and four HIDTAs (Nevada, New England, Philadelphia/ Camden, and Southeast Michigan).
Notwithstanding somewhat mixed anecdotal reporting from law enforcement agencies regarding LSD availability, NDTS data indicate low and decreasing LSD availability. NDTS 2004 data reveal that 17.0 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide describe LSD availability as high or moderate, a decrease from 18.9 percent in 2003 and 20.9 percent in 2002. Most state and local agencies (66.1%) report low availability in 2004, relatively unchanged from 2003 (66.0%). Moreover, 13.8 percent of agencies report that the drug is not available in their areas, an increase from 11.9 percent in 2003.
Consistent with NDTS data that indicate decreasing LSD availability, the numbers of LSD-related arrests and investigations and samples submitted for testing have decreased sharply since 2000. The number of arrests reported by DEA for LSD-related offenses decreased from 162 in 2000, to 94 in 2001, 26 in 2002, and 19 in 2003. The number of LSD-related investigations initiated by DEA also decreased from 85 in 2000, to 40 in 2001, 14 in 2002, and 13 in 2003. According to STRIDE data, the number of seized LSD samples submitted for testing decreased from 24,460,969 dosage units in 2000 to 93,973 dosage units in 2001 and 1,624 dosage units in 2002 before remaining relatively stable at 1,647 dosage units in 2003.
National-level drug prevalence data indicate that past year rates of LSD use are highest among twelfth graders. MTF data for 2004 reveal that the rate of past year LSD use for twelfth graders was 2.2 percent compared with 1.1 percent for eighth graders and 1.6 percent for tenth graders. Past year rates of LSD use were 1.4 percent among college students and 1.2 percent among young adults.
MTF data reveal that past year rates of LSD use among males typically are much higher than rates of use among females. MTF 2003 data indicate that past year use among eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders was 1.4, 1.9, and 2.5 percent, respectively, for males compared with 1.1, 1.6, and 1.2 percent, respectively, for females. MTF data also show that the past year rate of LSD use among young adults was 1.4 percent for males compared with 0.8 percent for females. DAWN data indicate that Caucasian males are the predominant LSD user group entering hospital emergency departments for LSD-induced symptoms. DAWN data for 2002 reveal that 75.2 percent (670 of 891) of ED mentions for LSD were attributed to Caucasian patients, and 87.1 percent (776 of 891) were attributed to male patients.
LSD is used at relatively similar rates in urban and rural areas. MTF 2003 data indicate that 1.3, 1.3, and 1.5 percent of eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders, respectively, in Large MSAs report past year LSD use compared to 1.4, 2.3, and 1.7 percent in Non-MSAs. Rates of past year use also were similar among adults aged 19 to 30 in a Very Large City (0.9%) and in Farm/Country areas (1.0%).
MTF data regarding past year rates of LSD use among all age groups indicate sharp decreases since 1999, particularly among tenth and twelfth graders (see Figure 56). NSDUH data also show significant decreases in past year LSD use from 2002 to 2003 among adolescents aged 12 to 17 (1.3% to 0.6%) and young adults aged 18 to 25 (1.8% to 1.1%). Rates for adults aged 26 or older were relatively stable during that period at 0.1 and 0.0 percent, respectively.
DAWN data indicate that the number of ED mentions for LSD decreased each year since 1999. The estimated number of ED mentions for LSD decreased from 5,126 in 1999 to 2,821 in 2001 and dropped sharply to 891 in 2002, the most recent year for which such data are available.
LSD is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is synthesized from ergotamine tartrate--a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD producers use several production methods; however, all methods require significant laboratory experience and chemical knowledge. LSD production is a lengthy and complex process; it typically takes 2 to 3 days to produce 1 to 4 ounces of crystal LSD, which is then converted to liquid by dissolving it in a solvent.
Most LSD available in the United States is produced in northern California and the Pacific Northwest by a relatively small network of experienced chemists; however, independent dealers throughout the country produce the drug in limited quantities. Seizures of domestic LSD laboratories are rare. NCLSS data show only one reported LSD laboratory seizure in 2000 in Kansas, one in Missouri in 2002, and one in California in 2003. The laboratory in Kansas, located in a former missile silo, produced an estimated 94 million dosage units and was the largest laboratory ever seized by DEA.
Transportation and Distribution
Transportation and wholesale distribution of LSD is controlled by the limited number of producers of the drug, who supply midlevel distributors in all regions of the country. LSD is transported to midlevel distributors primarily by private vehicles and mail services. Local independent dealers, usually Caucasian males in their late teens or early twenties, are the principal retail distributors of LSD. However, the Milwaukee HIDTA indicates that some local independent LSD dealers are Mexican nationals, and the DEA Philadelphia Field Division identifies members of OMGs as retail LSD distributors. Sales most often take place at colleges, high schools, nightclubs, and raves. LSD is distributed in crystal, tablet, or liquid form and sells for $1 to $15 per dosage unit. Liquid LSD often is packaged in small bottles designed to hold breath freshener. LSD also is applied to gelatin squares, sugar cubes, or blotter paper.
LSD use will likely remain limited. MTF data reveal that past year use of LSD among adolescents, college students, and young adults has decreased since 1999 and that the level of disapproval for the drug remains very high, particularly among twelfth graders and adults. MTF 2003 data reveal that 94.4 percent of twelfth graders disapprove of regular LSD use, compared with 77.6 percent of tenth graders and 63.5 percent of eighth graders. In 2002, the latest year for which such data are available, disapproval rates of regular LSD use were higher than 95 percent for adults aged 19 to 22 (96.9%), 23 to 26 (97.9%), and 27 to 30 (98.0%).
PCP (phencyclidine) is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. PCP is a dissociative anesthetic that is used for the mind-altering, hallucinogenic effects it produces. PCP was originally developed for use as a general anesthetic but was found to cause adverse side effects in humans including delirium, visual disturbances, and psychotic behaviors and therefore was never marketed.
PCP trafficking and abuse continue to pose a moderate threat to the United States. Although PCP availability is increasing in a few areas of the country, PCP remains available at only low to moderate levels in most regions. Annual use trends indicate that PCP use is relatively stable to decreasing, but consequence data show that the demand for PCP may be increasing.
PCP is available throughout the country and, despite reports of increasing availability in some areas, availability appears to be relatively stable overall. Approximately one-half of all DEA Field Divisions and HIDTAs report that PCP is available in their areas; most report low to moderate availability. Five DEA Field Divisions and eight HIDTA offices report that PCP is widely or readily available in their areas. Increases in PCP availability were noted by Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., DEA Field Divisions and Philadelphia/Camden, Washington/Baltimore, and South Texas HIDTAs.
NDTS data indicate that PCP availability is relatively stable. NDTS 2004 data indicate that just 9.5 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide reported high or moderate PCP availability compared to 9.6 percent in 2003. More than half of state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide identified PCP availability as low in 2003 (62.1%) and 2004 (60.8%). In both years approximately one-quarter of all respondents report that PCP was not available in their areas.
According to DEA drug seizure data, PCP availability may be decreasing. STRIDE data indicate that after increasing dramatically from 184,938.4 dosage units in 2000, to 1,037,573.5 dosage units in 2001, and 5,786,959 in 2002, the number of PCP samples submitted for testing decreased to 527,986 dosage units in 2003.
The number of PCP-related arrests have increased overall since 2000. According to DEA, PCP-related arrests fluctuated yet increased overall from 37 in 2000, to 82 in 2001, to 43 in 2002, and 113 in 2003. The Los Angeles (45) and Houston (17) Field Divisions accounted for more than half of the PCP-related arrests in 2003; however, most of the arrests in those cities were the result of a single large investigation.
Twelfth graders appear to be the primary users of PCP among the surveyed age groups. According to 2003 MTF data, past year rates of use were not measurable among eighth grade, tenth grade, or college students. However, the past year rate for twelfth graders, 1.3 percent, was much higher than the rate for young adults aged 19 to 28 (0.3%). Although MTF data indicate that twelfth graders have the highest reported past year rate of use of all age groups, DAWN data indicate that young adults make up the predominant user group entering hospital emergency departments for treatment of PCP-induced symptoms. DAWN data for 2002 indicate that of the 7,648 ED mentions for PCP, over one-third (2,879) were attributed to persons aged 18 to 25. PCP-related ED mentions among those aged 35 years and older (2,541) and among those aged 26 to 34 (1,563) also accounted for large shares of total PCP-related ED mentions in 2002.
Data regarding PCP use by gender are somewhat mixed. MTF data show that PCP use is higher among males than females for twelfth graders (1.4% compared with 1.1%) but slightly higher among females than males for adults aged 19 to 30 (0.3% compared with 0.2%). In addition, DAWN data show that nearly twice as many ED mentions for PCP were reported among males (4,876) than females (2,738) in the same year.
DAWN data also indicate that Blacks accounted for more PCP-related ED mentions than any other ethnic group. According to DAWN data, 43.3 percent (3,308 of 7,648) of ED mentions for PCP were attributed to Black patients in 2002.
MTF data indicate higher rates of PCP use among twelfth graders in rural areas and among adults in urban areas. The rate of past year PCP use among twelfth graders was 1.8 percent in Non-MSAs compared with 0.9 percent in Large MSAs in 2003. The rate of past year PCP use among adults aged 19 to 30 was 0.3 percent in a Very Large City compared with 0.0 percent in Farm/Country areas in 2003.
Annual use trends for PCP are mixed. MTF data indicate that rates of past year use of PCP among twelfth grade students have trended downward overall since 2000. Past year rates among twelfth graders were 2.3 percent in 2000, 1.8 percent in 2001, 1.1 percent in 2002, and 1.3 percent in 2003. Rates of past year PCP use among adults aged 19 to 28 remained relatively stable since 2000; past year rates of use were 0.3 percent in 2000, 0.6 percent in 2001, and 0.3 percent in both 2002 and 2003. Data regarding past year rates of use among eighth and tenth graders and college students are not available.
Despite relatively stable to decreasing rates of use, the consequences of PCP use are increasing. DAWN data indicate that the estimated number of ED mentions for PCP increased each year since 1998 (see Figure 57).
PCP is available in powder, crystal, tablet, capsule, and liquid forms and is either injected, snorted, swallowed, or smoked by applying liquid PCP to leafy materials such as tobacco, marijuana, parsley, mint, and oregano. Powder or crystal PCP is smoked when mixed with marijuana or tobacco.
PCP is an addictive drug; its use often results in psychological dependence, craving, and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior. PCP is a dissociative anesthetic because it distorts perception of sight and sound and produces feelings of physical and emotional detachment. The effects of PCP vary by the route of administration and by dose. Smoking PCP can produce effects in as little as 2 minutes, while it may take as long as 60 minutes to feel effects if the drug is swallowed. Low to moderate doses of PCP can cause feelings of detachment, loss of coordination, and rapid eye movement, while higher doses may produce illusions and auditory hallucinations (see Table 24). At any dosage level, PCP users may also have feelings of strength, anxiety, aggression, and hostility. The effects obtained through PCP typically last up to 8 hours but may continue for 48 hours.
There are no generally accepted estimates as to domestic PCP production; however, laboratory seizure data and law enforcement reporting indicate that African American street gangs and criminal groups operating in California--especially Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties--control most PCP production. NCLSS data indicate that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies reported 43 PCP laboratory seizures nationwide between 2001 and July 2004. Of these seizures, 25 laboratories were located in California. Further, NCLSS data show that of the five PCP laboratories seized in the first 7 months of 2004, four were seized in Los Angeles County while one was seized in Currituck County (NC). PCP is sometimes produced by other criminal groups (particularly Mexican criminal groups), gangs, and independent laboratory operators in areas throughout the country.
Transportation and Distribution
Produced primarily for domestic distribution, PCP is transported by express mail services, in private vehicles, buses, and trains, and on commercial flights to distribution centers including Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, Dallas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C. Liquid PCP is transported from producers to distributors in a variety of glass and plastic containers ranging in size from soda bottles to gallon jugs. Wholesale distributors usually transfer the drug to smaller containers such as vanilla extract bottles and glass vials for distribution at the retail level.
PCP distributors vary regionally throughout the country; however, African American gangs and criminal groups seem to control most transportation and wholesale distribution of PCP in the United States. Many of the same groups that distribute PCP at the midlevel distribute the drug at the retail level. In New York City, African American street gangs and criminal groups, as well as Belizean nationals, distribute midlevel and retail quantities of PCP. In other markets such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago, Los Angeles-based street gangs such as Bloods and Crips control midlevel and retail PCP distribution. PCP usually is supplied to gang members and independent dealers for retail distribution from private residences and public housing projects. Retail-level distributors typically sell PCP at open-air drug markets in inner cities, on college campuses, and at raves.
Wholesale and retail prices of PCP are relatively low in comparison with prices of other illicit drugs. DEA reporting indicates that the national price range of liquid PCP at the wholesale level ranged from $6,500 to $28,000 per gallon in 2003. At the retail level, the price of liquid PCP ranged from $125 to $600 per ounce. At the retail level, the tablet form of PCP reportedly sells for $20 to $30 and powder PCP sells for $20 to $30 per gram. PCP-laced cigarettes and joints reportedly sell for $5 to $30 each at the retail level.
PCP use will likely remain relatively stable at low levels despite increasing PCP-related ED mentions. According to MTF data, rates of use have fluctuated but remained relatively stable at low levels among twelfth graders and college students during the past 5 years. Moreover, the rates of use among eighth graders, tenth graders, and college students historically have remained too low to measure. While DAWN ED mentions have continued to increase at a steady rate over the past 5 years, the increases were concentrated in a small number of metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
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