Illicit Drug Availability In U.S. Still Rising: Federal Assessment

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Heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and MDMA availability is increasing in many U.S. areas, says the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in its annual National Drug Threat Assessment. Center director Michael Walther estimated the annual cost of drug abuse and trafficking as $215 billion. The report blamed the problem largely on efforts of Mexican drug organizations to increase production and distribution.

White House Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske said the report highlights diversion and abuse of prescription drugs as a serious and increasing problem and promised a plan to deal with it, including the expansion of prescription drug monitoring programs and educating healthcare providers and patients. The report said that despite recent Mexican efforts to prohibit the importation of methamphetamine precursor chemicals, meth availability increased as the result of higher production in Mexico using alternative, less-efficient precursors. It said cocaine shortages have persisted in many U.S. drug markets because of decreased production in Colombia and rising world demand, especially in Europe.

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