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Drug Trends and Distribution in Illinois: A Survey of Drug Task Forces

NCJ Number
Jessica Reichert; Risa Sacomani; Edwin Medina; Matthew DeSalvo; Sharyn Adams
Date Published
August 2016
40 pages
Based on the input of the 19 Illinois drug task-force directors, this study examined the extent of the drug problem in the jurisdictions covered by each drug task force, with attention to the frequency of drug types encountered and trends in drug trafficking, use, and distribution.
The most frequently encountered drugs in task force jurisdictions in order of frequency were cannabis, heroin, prescription drugs, cocaine, and crack. The use and distribution of heroin was identified as the most serious drug problem by 16 of the 19 drug task force jurisdictions, and most task force officials cited an increase in heroin trafficking and use as the most serious drug problem over the 2 years examined. In the central and southern regions of Illinois, methamphetamine was most commonly identified as a considerable drug threat. Cannabis was fairly evenly spread among the rankings for greatest drug threat across each region. The National Drug Threat Assessment corroborates these findings, identifying increases in heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and controlled prescription drugs. In drawing implications for policy and practice, this report emphasizes the importance of multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency law enforcement efforts. Illinois law enforcement and drug task force members must collaborate with one another and with agencies in neighboring States. Information should be shared on distribution patterns for heroin. In addition, first-responding law enforcement officers should be trained to administer Narcan, a medicine used to prevent overdoses of heroin or other opioids from becoming fatal. Community outreach should include informing the pubic about substance use disorders, heroin, opioids, and other drugs, as well as where drug users can receive help without fearing arrest. 9 figures, 5 tables, and approximately 65 references