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Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse, Volume I: Highlights and Executive Summary, June 2003

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2003
88 pages
Based on papers presented and data reported by representatives of the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) at the June 2003 CEWG meeting, this report summarizes findings and issues regarding epidemiologic trends in drug abuse in 21 sentinel areas of the United States.
The CEWG is composed of researchers from these 21 areas who have extensive experience in community research and knowledge of their local communities, drugs, and drug-abusing populations, as well as the social and health consequences of drug abuse, drug trafficking and other law enforcement patterns, and emerging drugs within and across communities. Information developed by the CEWG is intended to alert authorities and the general public at every level to the current drug abuse patterns and trends, so that appropriate and timely action can be taken. Reports from CEWG members at the June 2003 meeting indicate that polysubstance abuse is proliferating across all CEWG areas. The abuse of an ever-increasing array of illicit and licit substances used in a variety of combinations is contributing to an increase in health problems and deaths. Methamphetamine abuse and production continue at high levels in Hawaii, West Coast areas, and some Southwestern areas. Marijuana is the most prevalent illicit drug being used in almost all CEWG areas. Cocaine/crack abuse was endemic in almost all CEWG areas in 2002. Heroin indicators were relatively stable in 2002, but they continued at high levels in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Other opiates/narcotics apparently are increasing in use, particularly hydrocodone and oxycodone products. PCP indicators increased in five CEWG areas: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, the District of Columbia, and Texas. Club drug use has expanded beyond the club culture to various populations, with MDMA ("ecstasy") continuing to be the dominant club drug. The abuse of benzodiazepine is relatively high in six CEWG areas. This drug ranked among the top 10 drugs reported to be involved in deaths based on DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network) reports. Indicators of LSD abuse continued to decline across CEWG areas. Extensive tabular and graphic data, brief international reports on Canada and Mexico, and a list of participants at the CEWG meeting in June 2003