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National Drug Threat Assessment, 2011

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2011
72 pages
The U.S. Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center presents its National Drug Threat Assessment for 2011.
The illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs presents a challenging, dynamic threat to the United States, as the overall demand for illicit drugs is increasing. The estimated economic cost to society of illicit drug use in 2007 was just over $193 billion. This estimate reflects direct and indirect public costs related to crime, health, and lost productivity. The abuse of several major illicit drugs - including heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine - is increasing, especially among youth. The abuse of controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) is also increasing, producing serious health consequences. Mexican-based transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) dominate the supply, trafficking, and wholesale distribution of most illicit drugs in the United States. The Southwest Border remains the primary gateway for moving illicit drugs into the United States. Generally, drug availability is increasing in the United States. This is especially true for heroin, marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy), and methamphetamine. The domestic drug trade generates tens of billions of dollars annually, which traffickers must collect, consolidate, and infuse into the international financial system in order to realize the use of profits from their crimes. Drug sales in the United States are conducted primarily through cash, which presents to drug cartels the continuing problem of how to deposit vast amounts of currency into financial institutions while maintaining an appearance of legitimacy. The report concludes that the threat posed by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drug will not abate in the near term and may increase. Appendixes provide maps, tables, and the scope and methodology of the data collection for the report.