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Washington Drug Threat Assessment
Publication Date: February 2003
Document ID: 2003-S0388WA-001
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 to Washington. 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 to Washington.
Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time. Addresses are provided at the end of the page.
Other Dangerous Drugs
Methamphetamine is a primary drug threat to Washington. High purity, low cost methamphetamine is readily available, and the drug is abused throughout the state. Methamphetamine production in Washington has increased, as has the number of methamphetamine laboratories seized by law enforcement officials. Methamphetamine production is causing serious safety and environmental concerns in Washington. Further, the production, distribution, and abuse of methamphetamine are more commonly associated with violent crime than any other drug. Methamphetamine is produced in Washington primarily by Caucasian criminal groups and local independents, often in ounce quantities using the Birch reduction method. Local independent producers, however, have produced pound quantities using the hydriodic acid/red phosphorus production method. Mexican criminal groups also produce methamphetamine in the state, sometimes in pound quantities typically using the hydriodic acid/red phosphorus method. Methamphetamine produced by Mexican criminal groups in high volume laboratories in Mexico and California and, to a lesser extent, in Oregon and southwestern states, is readily available in the state as well. Mexican criminal groups are the dominant transporters and wholesale distributors of methamphetamine in Washington. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers--primarily Caucasian and Mexican--are the principal retail distributors of methamphetamine in the state.
Marijuana is the most readily available and widely abused illicit drug in Washington. Locally produced marijuana is the predominant type available throughout the state. Marijuana produced in Canada and Mexico also is available in the state. Canada-produced marijuana, commonly known as BC Bud, is more readily available in Washington than Mexico-produced marijuana. Cannabis cultivation occurs throughout the state and may be increasing. Caucasian criminal groups and local independent producers are the primary marijuana producers in Washington. They also dominate the wholesale distribution of the marijuana they produce. Canada-based Asian criminal groups, primarily Vietnamese, and outlaw motorcycle gangs, primarily Hells Angels, as well as Caucasian criminal groups and local independent dealers--both Canada- and Washington-based--smuggle Canada-produced marijuana into Washington for wholesale and retail distribution. Mexican criminal groups are the dominant transporters and wholesale distributors of Mexico-produced marijuana in Washington. Criminal groups and local independent dealers, both primarily Caucasian, are the principal retail distributors of marijuana produced in Canada and Washington. Criminal groups, local independent dealers, and street gangs, all of which are primarily Mexican, are the principal retail distributors of Mexico-produced marijuana in Washington. Various other criminal groups, local independent dealers, and street gangs also distribute marijuana at the retail level.
Cocaine also is a significant threat to Washington. Powdered cocaine is readily available throughout Washington. Abuse of the drug is common, and powdered cocaine is abused more frequently than crack cocaine. Crack cocaine is generally not available outside the major metropolitan areas of Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. Mexican criminal groups are the predominant transporters and wholesale distributors of powdered cocaine in the state. These groups transport wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine from Mexico and California into and throughout Washington. Powdered cocaine is transported from and through Washington, primarily Seattle, to drug markets in other states and Canada. Criminal groups, local independent dealers, and street gangs, all of which are primarily Mexican, are the principal retail powdered cocaine distributors in Washington.
Heroin poses a significant problem to Washington, particularly in larger cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, and Yakima. The drug is readily available, and heroin abuse is a significant problem. Violence associated with heroin distribution and abuse is a concern to law enforcement officials. Mexican black tar heroin is the predominant type available in the state. Mexican criminal groups are the dominant transporters of heroin into and through the state. These groups transport the drug primarily from Mexico and California into Washington and are the primary wholesale heroin distributors in the state. Mexican local independent dealers are the primary retail heroin distributors.
Other dangerous drugs. With the exception of MDMA, other dangerous drugs present a low but increasing threat to Washington. MDMA is readily available and abused in Washington. Other dangerous drugs include the stimulant MDMA, the hallucinogens LSD and psilocybin, and the depressant GHB and its analogs. Various criminal groups transport these dangerous drugs to Washington via private vehicles, commercial aircraft, couriers on foot entering the United States from Canada, and package delivery services. Many of these drugs are sold and abused by middle-class, suburban, young adults at raves and nightclubs and on college campuses. Several Internet web sites advertise weekly rave events in Washington and surrounding states, and the number of rave parties, where these drugs often are distributed, is increasing. Diverted pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and methadone (Dolophine) also pose a low but increasing threat.
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National Drug Intelligence Center
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Johnstown, PA 15901
Tel. (814) 532-4601
FAX (814) 532-4690
National Drug Intelligence Center
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001
McLean, VA 22102-3840
Tel. (703) 556-8970
FAX (703) 556-7807
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