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National Drug Intelligence Center.



District of Columbia Drug Threat Assessment Update

District of Columbia Drug Threat Assessment Update.Publication Date: May 2003
Original Publication: January 2002

Document ID: 2003-S0379DC-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 brief update to the District of Columbia Drug Threat Assessment, which is a strategic assessment of the status and outlook of the drug threat to the District of Columbia. 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. NDIC anticipates that this update will be useful to policymakers, law enforcement personnel, and treatment providers at the federal, state, and local levels. 

The District of Columbia Drug Threat Assessment was produced in January 2002 and is available on NDIC's web site or by contacting the NDIC dissemination line at 814-532-4541.

Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time.  Addresses are provided at the end of the page.
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Other Dangerous Drugs 
     GHB and Analogs

Diverted Pharmaceuticals




List of Tables 

Table 1. Drug-Related Emergency Department Mentions Per 100,000 Population, Washington, D.C., and United States, 2001
Table 2. Percentage of Drug-Related Federal Sentences by Drug Type, District of Columbia and United States, FY2001


The District of Columbia (D.C.) is a regional distribution hub for illicit drugs. Its proximity to New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore and its well-developed transportation infrastructure make D.C. an important node in the drug transportation network along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Drugs transported into and through D.C. by commercial and private vehicles; by couriers aboard buses, trains, and commercial aircraft; and via package delivery services have an excellent chance of reaching their destination because of the daily volume of goods moving into and through the District.

District of Columbia

Map of Washington D.C. area showing major transportation routes.

Cocaine is readily available throughout D.C., and its distribution and abuse are associated with more violent crime than any other illicit substance, making cocaine the primary drug threat. Low cost, high purity South American heroin is nearly as serious a threat as cocaine. Younger individuals are abusing high purity South American heroin at an increasing rate, and the higher purity levels increase the risk of overdose. Marijuana is the most widely available and frequently abused illicit drug in the city. The availability of other dangerous drugs--particularly the hallucinogen PCP and the club drugs MDMA and GHB and its analogs--is high, and there are indications that PCP abuse is increasing rapidly. The number of PCP-related arrests in 2002 increased fourfold over 2001, and the potential for PCP-related violence makes this drug a serious threat. Diversion of pharmaceutical drugs such as OxyContin is a growing threat to D.C. The production, distribution, and abuse of methamphetamine pose a low threat to the area.



National Drug Intelligence Center
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Johnstown, PA 15901

Tel. (814) 532-4601
FAX (814) 532-4690

National Drug Intelligence Center
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Tel. (703) 556-8970
FAX (703) 556-7807


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