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National Drug Intelligence Center.



Pennsylvania Drug Threat Assessment Update

Pennsylvania Drug Threat Assessment Update.Publication Date: October 2003
Original Publication: June 2001

Document ID: 2003-S0379PA-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 joint update between the National Drug Intelligence Center and the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Pennsylvania Drug Threat Assessment, which is a strategic assessment of the status and outlook of the drug threat to Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania Drug Threat Assessment was produced in June 2001 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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Diverted Pharmaceuticals


Other Dangerous Drugs





Map of Pennsylvania showing major transportation routes.

The distribution and abuse of illicit drugs pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania. Most illicit drugs available in Pennsylvania are transported into the state from New York City; however, illicit drugs also are transported from Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New Jersey, and southwestern states, as well as from Canada and Mexico. Private vehicles are the primary conveyances used to transport illicit drugs into Pennsylvania. To a lesser extent, rental and commercial vehicles; couriers aboard buses, trains, and commercial aircraft; maritime vessels; and package delivery services also are used to transport illicit drugs into the state. A large portion of the cocaine and heroin transported into Pennsylvania is destined for Philadelphia and, to a lesser extent, Pittsburgh, which serve as regional distribution centers for these drugs. Cocaine and heroin transported to Philadelphia is distributed throughout Pennsylvania and other states. Cocaine and heroin transported to Pittsburgh is distributed in southwestern Pennsylvania as well as in eastern Ohio and northwestern West Virginia.

Heroin, primarily South American heroin, has surpassed cocaine as the greatest drug threat to most of Pennsylvania. In 2002 heroin-related treatment admissions represented 36 percent of all admissions in the state, higher than for any other illicit drug. Cocaine, both powdered and crack, also poses a significant drug threat to Pennsylvania, as it is readily available, frequently abused, and often associated with violent crime. Marijuana is readily available and commonly abused in the state. Diverted pharmaceuticals pose a serious drug threat to Pennsylvania. The abuse, production, and distribution of methamphetamine are an increasing threat to Pennsylvania, particularly in the northwestern part of the state. The availability and abuse of other dangerous drugs (principally MDMA and GHB and its analogs) also pose a significant drug threat to Pennsylvania, although the threat is less severe than that posed by heroin, cocaine, marijuana, diverted pharmaceuticals, and methamphetamine. 


National Drug Intelligence Center
319 Washington Street, 5th Floor
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


Drug Enforcement Administration
Philadelphia Division
William J. Green Federal Building
600 Arch Street, Suite 10224
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tel. (215) 861-3474


Web Addresses

ADNET:  http://ndicosa 

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