In June, I had the chance to attend a conference in
Seattle of some of the smartest minds in America when it comes to
monitoring drug abuse. While each gave a presentation
about cities and areas across the nation, I found particularly
interesting just one sheet of paper that they passed around.
Across the top of the page, various drugs — cocaine, heroin,
other opiates, meth, marijuana and synthetics — were listed. In
each column below, each expert from the cities and areas listed the
current trends — up, down, or otherwise — for each drug.
Please take a look at the page. But I’ll also provide a short
synopsis of my own interpretation of it, as discussed at the
Epidemiology Work Group in Seattle June 8-10.
Cocaine: Clearly down across the country. Its
high price, even during the recession, has made it rather cost
prohibitive for users, various epidemiologists pointed out at the
meeting. There were a few exceptions: New York City and
“vacationland” Maine, two of the richest areas of the country.
Heroin: Results were mixed but some areas have
experienced a surge, including our own, which is denoted with
“young adult,” being part of the trend. Readers of our paper will
no doubt already know that heroin
has experienced a huge resurgence here.
Other opiates: Wow. The country is clearly
prescription pill addiction.
Meth: This one may surprise you. Though so much
attention is given to this particularly
dirty drug, most areas reported its use is stable or
decreasing. So-called “precursor” laws have obviously had an impact
in keeping meth’s key ingredient, pseudoephedrine, out of the hands
that would cook it themselves. But more complex drug enterprises
appear to have made up for that lack of mom-and-pop meth shops.
Marijuana: The results from the group were
Marijuana continues to grow in use and abuse, achieving the
“high” label amongst many of the epidemiologists present. The
growing number of people who believe it should be legalized, or at
least recognized as having medical benefits, continues to push the
Synthetics: The group either needed more time
to investigate or found that synthetics, be it PCP or MDMA, were on
Notice alcohol, not an illicit drug is not on the list. Yet this
drug, above all others, is more abused than any other.
Note: The circling of some notes in the heroin column are
mine, as I attended the conference when it was the main topic of
conversation. Otherwise, it is each expert’s notes.
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