Drug Use Patterns and Trends 2018
December 31, 2018
- Methamphetamine is the number 1 drug threat ranked by the Dallas, El Paso, and Houston DEA Field Divisions.
- Cocaine is ranked the number 2 and number 3 threat by the DEA Field Divisions.
- Pharmaceuticals, benzodiazepines, hydrocodone, and muscle relaxants remain problematic. Compared to other NDEWS sites, the number of fentanyl items seized and identified is increasing, but the number of cases involving heroin and fentanyl in combination is low, while the number of cases involving fentanyl and other opiates is high. The recent increase in the number of tramadol cases involved with other opiates is also a concern.
- Heroin in Texas is either black tar heroin or powdered brown heroin (diluted with diphenhydramine or other filler), with some white Mexican/South American heroin seen. Of the top 25 items seized and identified in Texas laboratories reporting to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), heroin ranks #4, at 5.2% of all items identified, and fentanyl ranks #21 (0.21% of all items identified).
- Cannabis indicators remain steady, with problems most often seen in the trafficking of decriminalized cannabis products from Colorado through Texas.
- Synthetic cannabinoid and cathinone poison calls have decreased but recent research by the author looking at treatment admissions and poison center call data has found statistically significant trends over time. The user population has changed from younger males hoping to use a cannabinoid that would not show positive in drug tests to an older population who are more likely to be experiencing homelessness and co-morbid psychological problems.