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June 1, 2017

Cartels and Gangs in Chicago

Chicago has a long history of organized crime and is home to numerous street gangs that use the illegal drug trade to build their criminal enterprises. Although the murder rate in Chicago has declined significantly since the 1990s, recent instances of gang-related homicides have placed Chicago’s crime situation in the national spotlight. Compounding Chicago’s crime problem is a steady supply of drugs from Mexican drug cartels, most notably the Sinaloa Cartel. Illicit drugs flow from Mexico to Chicago via a loosely associated network of profit-driven intermediaries, with Chicago street gangs serving as the primary distributors at the street level. The profits earned through drug trafficking increase the staying power of both street gangs and drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), thereby influencing levels of violent crime in both the United States and Mexico. Of particular concern is the trafficking and distribution of heroin, which has increased significantly in recent years and caused significant harm to communities in Chicago and throughout the United States. This report provides background on the gang-related crime situation in Chicago and offers insight on the nexus between Mexican DTOs and Chicago street gangs. 

June 1, 2017

The Opioid Threat in the Chicago Field Division

All available indicators—including investigative intelligence, case initiations, seizure and arrest data, abuse indicators, and anecdotal information—indicate that opioids present the greatest illegal drug threat to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chicago Field Division (CFD), which encompasses the states of Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Northern and Central U.S. Federal Judicial Districts in Illinois. Although this threat is affecting urban and suburban areas most severely, it has been expanding throughout almost every state. 

June 1, 2017

Opioid Overdose Deaths Remain High in Seattle and King County

The King County Medical Examiner’s (KCME) Office reported that deaths caused by drugs increased to their highest levels in 2016 in both Seattle and King County, Washington. The majority (63 percent) of the 360 deaths were caused by opioids. The opioids responsible for the overdose deaths were opium derivatives such as morphine and heroin, but also included oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone. In addition, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, fentanyl-related compounds, and U-47700 were also found. 

May 1, 2017

Drug Slang Code Words

This Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Intelligence Report contains information from a variety of law enforcement and open sources. It is designed as a ready reference for law enforcement personnel who are confronted by many of the hundreds of slang terms used to identify a wide variety of controlled substances, designer drugs, and synthetic compounds. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented. However, due to the dynamics of the ever-changing drug scene, subsequent additions, deletions, and corrections are inevitable. Further addendums to this report will attempt to capture changed terminology, to the extent possible. This compendium of drug slang terms has been alphabetically ordered, and identifies drugs and drug categories in English and foreign language derivations. 

May 1, 2017

The West Virginia Drug Situation

Drug abuse and trafficking, particularly of opioids, is a critical threat to West Virginia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there was a statistically significant increase (16.9 percent) in drug overdose deaths in West Virginia between 2014 and 2015. The state had the highest rate of overdose deaths in the country in 2015, approximately 42 for every 100,000 people; CDC data indicate that 725 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2015, more than double the number who died from car accidents.

May 1, 2017

Drug Slang Code Words

This Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Intelligence Report contains information from a variety of law enforcement and open sources. It is designed as a ready reference for law enforcement personnel who are confronted by many of the hundreds of slang terms used to identify a wide variety of controlled substances, designer drugs, and synthetic compounds. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented. However, due to the dynamics of the ever-changing drug scene, subsequent additions, deletions, and corrections are inevitable. Further addendums to this report will attempt to capture changed terminology, to the extent possible. This compendium of drug slang terms has been alphabetically ordered, and identifies drugs and drug categories in English and foreign language derivations.

April 1, 2017

DEA Fall 2017 Marijuana Update for South Carolina

As of October 2017, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) South Carolina-related National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) data show that marijuana submissions indicate it is the second-most submitted illegal substance by incident by South Carolina law enforcement officials 2015. With preliminary reporting from 2016-17, the ranking of marijuana has slightly decreased. 

November 1, 2016

2016 National Drug Threat Assessment

The 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment is a comprehensive strategic assessment of the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of illicit and prescription drugs. This report combines federal, state, and local law enforcement reporting; public health data; news reports; and intelligence from other government agencies to provide a coordinated and balanced approach to determining which substances represent the greatest drug threat to the United States. Over the past 10 years, the drug landscape in the United States has shifted, with the tripartite opioid threat (controlled prescription drugs, fentanyl, and heroin) having risen to epidemic levels, impacting significant portions of the United States. While the current opioid crisis has deservedly garnered significant attention, the methamphetamine threat has remained prevalent; the cocaine threat was in a state of steady decline, but appears to be rebounding; and due in part to the national discussion surrounding legalization efforts, the focus of marijuana enforcement efforts continues to evolve. Drug poisoning is the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Drug poisoning deaths are currently at their highest ever recorded level and, every year since 2009, drug poisoning deaths have outnumbered deaths by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide. In 2014, approximately 129 people died every day as a result of drug poisoning. Analyst Note: The information in this report is current as of August 2016.

July 1, 2016

Analysis of Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania, 2015

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) Intelligence Program conducted a comprehensive analysis of illicit drug and diverted pharmaceutical abuse in Pennsylvania (PA), as measured through drug-related overdose death data. According to the most recent reporting by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania ranked eighth in the country in drug overdose deaths in 2014 (21.9 per 100,000 people).

June 1, 2016

Residential Marijuana Grows in Colorado: The New Meth Houses?

Colorado’s state laws legalizing marijuana do not limit how much marijuana can be grown within a private residence. Further, there is no mechanism at the state-level to document or regulate home grows, even large ones. This has led to a proliferation of large-scale marijuana grow operations in hundreds of homes throughout the state. Much of the marijuana produced in large home grows is shipped out of Colorado and sold in markets where it commands a high price. 

Although growing a large number of marijuana plants within private residences can fall within the parameters of state law, it presents potential risk to the occupants, homeowners, and neighbors of these residences, as well as to first responders who are called to them. Marijuana grows often cause extensive damage to the houses where they are maintained and are increasingly the causes of house fires, blown electrical transformers, and environmental damage. Much like the “meth houses” of the 1990s, many of these homes may ultimately be rendered uninhabitable. 

June 1, 2016

2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary

The threat posed by heroin in the United States is serious and has increased since 2007. Heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths. In 2014, 10,574 Americans died from heroin-related overdoses, more than triple the number in 2010. (See Chart 1.) Increased demand for, and use of, heroin is being driven by both increasing availability of heroin in the U.S. market and by some controlled prescription drug (CPD) abusers using heroin. CPD abusers who begin using heroin do so chiefly because of price differences. 

May 1, 2016

The Drug Situation in Delaware

In April 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) Intelligence Program conducted an analysis of drug availability and abuse for the State of Delaware. Delaware is home to 935,000 people in three counties: New Castle (including the city of Wilmington), Kent, and Sussex.1 The primary drug threats to Delaware are heroin and diverted prescription opioids, as measured through information regarding drug availability, seizures, treatment admissions, and drug-related overdose deaths. In 2014, Wilmington ranked third on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual list of the most violent cities of comparable size, and it ranked fifth in violent crime when compared to all cities with populations greater than 50,000.2 As a result, Wilmington was included in the Department of Justice’s Violence Reduction Network in 2014. In 2015, the Office of National Drug Control Policy designated New Castle County as part of the Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). 

November 1, 2015

Analysis of Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania, 2014

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) Intelligence Program conducted a broad analysis of the impact of illicit drug and diverted pharmaceutical misuse in Pennsylvania, as examined through drug-related overdose death data. According to a 2015 report, Pennsylvania ranked ninth in the country in drug overdose deaths (18.9 per 100,000 people); drug overdoses were reported as the leading cause of injury.

October 1, 2015

2015 National Drug Threat Assessment

The 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) is a comprehensive assessment of the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and use of illicit drugs. The drug section of this report is arranged in ranking order based on the level of threat each drug presents. The threat level for each drug is determined by strategic analysis of the domestic drug situation during 2014, based on law enforcement, intelligence, and public health data available for the period. For instance, each day in the United States, over 120 people die as a result of a drug overdose. In particular, the number of deaths attributable to controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) has outpaced those for cocaine and heroin combined. Additionally, some opioid CPD abusers are initiating heroin use, which contributes to the increased demand for and use of heroin. For these reasons, CPDs and heroin are ranked as the most significant drug threats to the United States. Fentanyl and its analogs are responsible for more than 700 deaths across the United States between late 2013 and late 2014. While fentanyl is often abused in the same manner as heroin, it is much more potent. Methamphetamine distribution and abuse significantly contribute to violent and property crime rates in the United States. Further, cocaine distributors and users seek out methamphetamine as an alternative as cocaine availability levels decline. While marijuana is the most widely available and commonly used illicit drug and remains illegal under federal law, many states have passed legislation approving the cultivation, possession, and use of the drug within their respective states. Marijuana concentrates, with potency levels far exceeding those of leaf marijuana, pose an issue of growing concern. Finally, the threat posed by synthetic designer drugs continues to impact many segments of the American population, particularly youth. A full discussion for each of these drugs cannot be undertaken without first examining the criminal groups that supply these substances to distributors and users in the United States. 

July 1, 2015

United States: Areas of Influence of Major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations

Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) pose the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks. They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their share, particularly in the heroin and methamphetamine markets. 

April 1, 2015

2015 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary

The threat posed by heroin in the United States is serious and has increased since 2007. Heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths. In 2013, 8,620 Americans died from heroin-related overdoses, nearly triple the number in 2010. (See Chart 1.) Increased demand for, and use of, heroin is being driven by both increasing availability of heroin in the U.S. market and by some controlled prescription drug (CPD) abusers using heroin. CPD abusers who begin using heroin do so chiefly because of price differences, but also because of availability, and the reformulation of OxyContin®, a commonly abused prescription opioid.

November 1, 2014

2014 National Drug Threat Assessment

The threat from CPD abuse is persistent and deaths involving CPDs outnumber those involving heroin and cocaine combined. The economic cost of nonmedical use of prescription opioids alone in the United States totals more than $53 billion annually. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), street gangs, and other criminal groups, seeing the enormous profit potential in CPD diversion, have become increasingly involved in transporting and distributing CPDs. The number of drug overdose deaths, particularly from CPDs, has grown exponentially in the past decade and has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Rogue pain management clinics (commonly referred to as pill mills) also contribute to the extensive availability of illicit pharmaceuticals in the United States. To combat pill mills and stem the flow of illicit substances, many states are establishing new pill mill legislation and prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). 

October 1, 2013

2013 National Drug Threat Assessment

The 2013 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) Summary addresses emerging developments related to the trafficking and use of primary illicit substances of abuse and the nonmedical use of controlled prescription drugs (CPDs). In the preparation of this report, DEA intelligence analysts considered quantitative data from various sources (seizures, investigations, arrests, drug purity or potency, and drug prices; law enforcement surveys; laboratory analyses; and interagency production and cultivation estimates) and qualitative information (subjective views of individual agencies on drug availability, information on smuggling and transportation trends, and indicators of changes in smuggling and transportation methods). 

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