DEA Releases National Drug Threat Assessment

 In cordant, Drug Testing, Health Plans

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced its assessment of the nation’s greatest drug threats in a recent report. The 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary is a comprehensive review of the drug landscape conducted annually in partnership with local, state, tribal, and federal partners. Drug poisoning is now the leading cause of injury death, and these deaths have outnumbered deaths by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide every year since 2009.

The report findings include the following:

  • Abuse of prescription drugs has declined. Unfortunately, abuse of these substances is still greater than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and PCP combined. The decrease is largely attributed to the use of prescription drug monitoring programs, drug disposal programs and law enforcement efforts.
  • The decrease in availability of prescription medicines has led to an increase in heroin use and abuse. Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than tripled in 4 years, resulting in 10,574 deaths in 2014.
  • The illicit use of fentanyl, often smuggled in from Mexico and China, is also increasingly causing overdose-related deaths. Fentanyl is cheaper and more potent than heroin and is often added to heroin and counterfeit prescription pills, often without the user’s knowledge.
  • Methamphetamine continues to be a significant contributor to violent crime and is readily available in the United States. The data show that the greatest methamphetamine problems occur in the Southwest.
  • Cocaine use had been in a state of steady decline but is showing signs of increasing.
  • The popularity of new, unregulated psychoactive substances (NPS), such as synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones, is also increasing. These drugs often go undetected in workplace and criminal justice drug tests. Calls to poison control centers regarding NPS drugs increased 111 percent from 2014 to 2015.

To review the entire report, click here:

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