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Connecticut Drug Threat Assessment Update
July 2003

Other Dangerous Drugs

The availability and abuse of other dangerous drugs (ODDs) including club drugs--particularly MDMA, GHB and its analogs, LSD, and ketamine--and diverted pharmaceuticals pose a moderate threat to Connecticut. The distribution and abuse of MDMA and diverted pharmaceuticals have increased throughout the state. Club drugs primarily are distributed and abused by teenagers and young adults at raves or techno parties, nightclubs, and on college campuses. Diverted pharmaceuticals typically are distributed from bars and other public areas and abused by individuals of various socioeconomic classes and age groups.

Club Drugs. MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, also known as ecstasy) is the most widely available and frequently abused club drug in Connecticut. Teenagers and young adults are the primary abusers of MDMA in the state. The Governor's Initiative for Youth 2000 Student Survey, conducted by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, indicates that 4.0 percent of high school students surveyed in grades 9 and 10 reported having abused MDMA within the 30 days prior to the survey. In May 2002 a 16-year-old East Hampton female slipped into a coma and died after abusing MDMA at a party. This was the first overdose death in Connecticut attributed solely to MDMA.

Caucasian criminal groups are the dominant transporters and wholesale-level distributors of MDMA in Connecticut. MDMA primarily is transported into the state from New York City, typically via private or rental vehicles. Caucasian and Asian criminal groups transport additional quantities of the drug into Connecticut from Canada via the same methods. Additional quantities of MDMA are produced in Connecticut. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials seized an MDMA laboratory in North Stonington in 2001 and another in Thompson in 2002.

MDMA Laboratory Seized in Thompson

Federal law enforcement officials arrested four Caucasian men, aged 24 to 28, in Thompson on charges of conspiring to produce MDMA and intent to distribute the drug. Officials seized a high-yield MDMA laboratory operated by these individuals, which was concealed in three rooms under a trailer home in Thompson that belonged to one of the arrestees. The individuals had produced MDMA since at least April 2001, and the tablet press in the laboratory was capable of pressing 6,000 tablets per hour.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration Boston Division.

Caucasian teenagers and young adults are the primary retail-level distributors of MDMA in the state. The drug typically is distributed at raves or techno parties, in bars and nightclubs, and on college campuses. Wholesale quantities of MDMA sold for $5 to $15 per tablet in the first quarter of FY2003, according to the DEA Boston Division. Retail quantities usually sold for $15 to $30 per tablet during the same period.

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Other club drugs such as GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and its analogs (GBL, BD, GHV, and GVL), ketamine, and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) are available and abused in Connecticut. According to the DEA Boston Division, GHB sold for $5 to $10 per dosage unit during the first quarter of FY2003. Ketamine sold for $40 per dosage unit. LSD sold for $50 to $150 per 100 dosage units and $3 to $5 per dosage unit during the same period.

Caucasian local independent dealers are the primary transporters of GHB and its analogs, ketamine, and LSD. These local independent dealers also serve as the principal wholesale- and retail-level distributors of these drugs. GHB and its analogs are transported into the state from various domestic and foreign locations primarily via package delivery services and private vehicles. LSD and ketamine typically are transported into Connecticut from sources in California via package delivery services. Ketamine, a veterinary anesthetic, occasionally is stolen from veterinary clinics in the state. Retail-level distribution of ODDs typically occurs at raves, techno parties, dance parties, and nightclubs, or from private residences and at prearranged meeting locations.

GHB Analogs

Analog Chemical/Alternative Name
GBL gamma-butyrolactone
furanone di-hydro
BD 1,4-butanediol
tetramethylene glycol
butylene glycol
GVL gamma-valerolactone
GHV gamma-hydroxyvalerate

Diverted pharmaceuticals. Diverted pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone (Dolophine), methylphenidate (Ritalin), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium) pose an increasing drug threat to Connecticut. The diversion and abuse of prescription opiates such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet are increasing rapidly. Heroin addicts in Connecticut sometimes use prescription opiates, particularly OxyContin, as a substitute for heroin when heroin is not available, according to the DEA Boston Division. Diverted pharmaceuticals typically are obtained through common diversion techniques including prescription fraud, improper prescribing practices, "doctor shopping" (visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions), and pharmacy theft. There were two armed robberies of pharmacies involving OxyContin reported in Connecticut in 2002.

Caucasian local independent dealers and abusers are the primary retail-level distributors of diverted pharmaceuticals in Connecticut. Diverted pharmaceuticals typically are distributed from bars and other public areas. In the first quarter of FY2003, the DEA Hartford Resident Office reported that oxycodone sold for $5 to $10 per tablet, Vicodin for $5 to $6 per tablet, Percocet for $6 to $8 per 10-milligram tablet, hydrocodone for $3 to $5 per tablet, and methadone for $8 to $12 per dosage unit.

Hallucinogens. The availability of PCP (phencyclidine) is limited in Connecticut; however, the drug often is abused in low-income housing areas. In 2002 one individual in Connecticut died after ingesting a combination of PCP and MDMA. African American criminal groups are the primary transporters and distributors of PCP in the state. These criminal groups obtain the drug from sources of supply in New York City and transport it back to the state for distribution. PCP often is sprayed on crushed mint leaves or marijuana and then smoked. Loose PCP-laced marijuana--which often is packaged in a plastic bag--is called wet, and PCP-laced blunts are called illy.

Hartford PCP Distributors Arrested

Law enforcement officers with FBI, the Connecticut State Police, and the Hartford Police Department arrested 11 members of an African American criminal group for transporting 2 to 6 gallons of PCP a month from New York City to Hartford, Connecticut, for distribution. Authorities reported that group members purchased the PCP from two Belize nationals in Harlem for $300 per liquid ounce, then transported the drug back to Hartford using private vehicles. The PCP usually was contained in various 32-ounce plastic or glass bottles during transport and was sold for $600 per liquid ounce in Hartford.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Meriden Resident Agency.


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