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CORK Bibliography: Drug Trade and Trafficking



100 citations. July 2011 to present

Prepared: December 2012



Alonso-Canovas A; de Felipe-Mimbrera A; Gonzalez-Valcarcel J; Garcia-Barragan N; Corral I; Masjuan J. Nuerological problems at the airport. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 82(9): 981-985, 2011. (14 refs.)

Objectives: Neurological problems are reported to be common in air travellers. The authors aimed to study neurological problems which might be associated with air traffic in a systematic way. Methods The authors analysed a prospective registry of all the patients referred from Madrid-Barajas International Airport to the emergency department of their tertiary university hospital (Hospital Universitario Ramon y Cajal), for whom a neurological consultation was required, during a period of 21 months. Results: 77 patients with a history of air travel presented with neurological problems and were included in the analysis. Fifty-nine (76.6%) were male, and the mean age was 45.9 (range 8-89, SD 17.5). Onset of symptoms was after landing in 44 subjects (58.7%), during the flight in 31 (41.3%), and unknown in two (5.1%). Thirty-nine (50.9%) had seizures, 18 (23.4%) had a stroke, and 20 (26%) other diagnosis. Sixty-one per cent of the patients with seizures had no previous history of epilepsy. Seizures on presentation were significantly associated with the use of drugs (p=0.0008), and most of the cases with known epilepsy admitted non-adherence to treatment. Three 'body packers' were admitted with seizures secondary to intra-abdominal cocaine pack rupture. Of eight ischaemic strokes, five had high-grade carotid stenosis, and one case had economy-class stroke syndrome. Six patients with stroke were eligible and treated with intravenous thrombolysis. Conclusion: In our series of neurological problems among air travellers, drug-induced seizures and ischaemic strokes due to large-artery atherosclerosis were the commonest observed diagnoses.

Copyright 2011, B M J Publishing


Arkes J. Recessions and the participation of youth in the selling and use of illicit drugs. International Journal of Drug Policy 22(5): 335-340, 2011. (26 refs.)

Background: There has been limited research on how recessions (or more generally, the strength of the economy) affect drug use and the related outcome of drug selling. This is especially important, given the current economic crisis. This paper aims to use a conceptual framework, previous research, and new research to predict how the current economic crisis may be affecting youth drug selling and drug use. Methods: A conceptual framework to understand how a recession could affect youth drug selling and drug use is presented, along with a review of the literature on empirical investigations on how the strength of the economy affects these behaviours among teenagers. In addition, new analyses for young adults are presented. Results: The conceptual framework postulates that a recession would have direct positive effects on the prevalence of youth drug selling but ambiguous direct effects on youth drug use. The conceptual framework also postulates that drug selling and drug use are inter-connected at the individual level and the aggregate level. Thus, any effect of a recession on one would likely affect the other in the same direction. The limited empirical evidence indicates that both drug selling and drug use among youth are higher when the economy is weaker. Conclusions: The current economic crisis will likely increase both youth drug selling and drug use relative to what they would have otherwise been.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science BV


Attaran A; Bate R; Kendall M. Why and how to make an international crime of medicine counterfeiting. Journal of International Criminal Justice 9(2): 325-354, 2011. (64 refs.)

The article explores why - when the counterfeiting of medicines is so prevalent, hard to detect and quietly dangerous or fatal - it remains totally unaddressed and therefore legal in international criminal law. It is argued that criminalizing the counterfeiting of medicines on an international scale would present no legally insurmountable barriers, and would offer significant advantages over the current national-scale approaches. The authors propose a legal definition of 'counterfeit', canvass the current legal doctrines that could be arrayed to better criminalize medicine counterfeiting, including classifying the severest instances as crimes against humanity, and explain the mechanisms necessary to close the jurisdictional gaps that are currently exploited by organized criminals who trade in counterfeit medicines across borders. They suggest that a counterfeit medicine treaty should be drafted under the auspices of the World Health Organization, and illustrate the feasibility of doing so with existing and developing treaty law on another health danger, tobacco.

Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press


Bassindale T. Quantitative analysis of methamphetamine in hair of children removed from clandestine laboratories - Evidence of passive exposure? Forensic Science International 219(1-3): 179-182, 2012. (17 refs.)

In New Zealand many children have been removed from clandestine laboratories following police intervention. In the last few years it has become standard procedure that these children have hair samples taken and these samples are submitted to the laboratory for analysis. There are various mechanisms for the incorporation of drugs into hair. The hair follicle has a rich blood supply, so any drug that may be circulating in the blood can be incorporated into the growing hair. Another mechanism is via external contamination, such as spilling a drug on the hair or through exposure to fumes or vapours. Hair samples were analysed for methamphetamine and amphetamine. From the 52 cases analysed 38 (73%) were positive for methamphetamine (>0.1 ng/mg) and amphetamine was detected in 34 of these cases. In no case was amphetamine detected without methamphetamine. The hair washes (prior to extraction) were also analysed (quantified in 30 of the positive cases) and only 3 had a wash to hair ratio of >0.1 (all were <0.5), which may be indicative of a low level of external contamination. This low level of evidence of external contamination suggests that the children are exposed to methamphetamine and are incorporating it into the hair through the blood stream.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Baumann BM; Mazzarelli A; Brunner J; Chansky ME; Thompson N; Boudreaux ED. Purchase and use patterns of heroin users at an inner-city emergency department. Journal of Emergency Medicine 42(1): 93, 2012. (14 refs.)

Background: Many consider heroin abuse a problem of the inner city, but suburban patients may also be at risk. Objective: To characterize the demographics and purchase/use patterns of heroin users in an inner-city emergency department (ED). Methods: The study was conducted in one of the most impoverished and crime-ridden cities in the United States. Demographics and substance use habits of ED patients were prospectively collected. Patients who were < 18 years of age, cognitively impaired, or did not speak English were excluded. Participants were further categorized as homeless, inner-city, and suburban residents. Results: Of 3947 participants, 608 (15%) used an illicit substance in the past year, with marijuana (9%) and cocaine (6%) the most commonly used. Heroin ranked third, used by 180 (5%) participants, with 61% male, 31% black, and 20% Hispanic. There were 64 homeless, 60 suburban, and 56 inner-city heroin users. The most common route of use was injection (68%), with the highest rate in the homeless (84%). The majority of homeless and inner-city users bought (73%, both groups) and used (homeless 74%, inner city 88%) in the inner city. Of suburban users, 58% purchased and 61% used heroin in the inner city. Prescription narcotic use was more common in homeless (20%) and suburban (23%) heroin users than in inner-city users (9%) (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Heroin is the third most commonly used illicit substance by ED patients, and a significant amount of inner-city purchase and use activity is conducted by suburban heroin users.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Benedict C. Late Imperial China 32(1): 13-48, 2011. (80 refs.)

Tobacco entered Manchuria on the same wave of early modern globalization that brought it from the Americas to other parts of Eurasia in the early seventeenth century. Introduced into northeast Asia sometime after 1600, it began to circulate widely in Manchuria precisely at a time when Hong Taiji (1592-1643) was building the early Qing state. This essay examines Hong Taiji's efforts to criminalize tobacco in the 1630s and 1640s, arguing that these prohibitions were largely directed at gaining state control over a valuable economic resource. However, within the commercialized milieu of seventeenth-century Liaodong, a region with ties to broader transregional circuits of trade, tobacco's lucrative profits and its pleasurable allure simply overpowered state efforts to monopolize it. As in most other early seventeenth-century Eurasian societies, the Qing tobacco bans quickly gave way to legalization and taxation.

Copyright 2011, Johns Hopkins University Press


Bhattacharya IS; Watson F; Bruce M. A case of gamma-butyrolactone associated with severe withdrawal delirium and acute renal failure. European Addiction Research 17(4): 169- 171, 2011. (15 refs.)

gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) is a popular drug of abuse which is easily available over the internet. Following a UK classification change to a class C drug in January 2010, internet supply has become difficult. Some of the effects have resulted in sourcing GBL from industrial solvents. We report a case of a 24-year-old man who was admitted for detoxification from GBL. He reported having sourced the GBL by diluting the contents of nail varnish remover pads with water. During his admission he developed a severe withdrawal delirium and acute renal failure. He required admission to the intensive care unit. Physicians and psychiatrists should be aware of toxic sources of GBL leading to renal failure and consider GBL in those presenting with agitation, psychosis or coma.

Copyright 2011, Karger


Blanc PD; Chin C; Lynch KL. Multifocal inflammatory leukoencephalopathy associated with cocaine abuse: Is levamisole responsible? (letter). Clinical Toxicology 50(6): 534-535, 2012. (7 refs.)


Boyd S; Carter C. Using children: marijuana grow-ops, media, and policy. Critical Studies in Media Communication 29(3): 238-257, 2012. (93 refs.)

Since early 2000, media outlets in Canada have printed numerous articles about children in grow-ops. For over 15 years, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the police have used their substantial public communication resources in the form of policy directives and press releases to emphasize that marijuana grow operations are a new social problem that requires increased public awareness, law enforcement, and legal and civil regulation. Our analysis of marijuana grow operations and children emerges from analyzing 15 years (1995-2009) of newspaper articles in national, provincial, and local newspapers in British Columbia. Our analysis focuses on how social problems such as drug use and drug production are contextualized, and how systems of meaning are produced in relation to these themes. Drawing from critical and feminist perspectives, we analyze and problematize the claims made about safety, health, and risk in relation to children and grow-ops in these newspaper articles. Analyzing media reports over a designated period of time reveals how social problems emerge and how discourse develops and is acted upon. We argue that the presumed veracity of media-based claims about children and marijuana production is established by the linking of historical discourses about child saving, drugs and parenting, and racialized outsiders to emerging claims about B.C.'s marijuana grow-op business.

Copyright 2012, Taylor & Francis Ltd


Bretteville-Jensen AL. Illegal drug use and the economic recession: What can we learn from the existing research? International Journal of Drug Policy 22(5): 353-359, 2011. (59 refs.)

Background: Much research on the use of amphetamine, cocaine and heroin employs individual level data and analyses variations in drug use by factors like personal characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and the social environment. Less attention is given to how these individual responses inter-relate with key macroeconomic variables. From a drug policy perspective however, it is important to also understand the consequences for drug use and drug users of changes in the macroeconomic conditions. As the world is experiencing an economic recession one would like to know whether it will affect the number of drug users and/or consumption frequency and volume amongst established users. Methods: There are different channels through which a recession could influence drug consumption; here the main focus is on how an economic downturn may influence drug prices and drug users' incomes. We briefly refer to relevant economic theory before reviewing the research literature. Results: A fall in drug prices and income seem likely. Empirical studies confirm drug users' price responsiveness. Only a few studies have dealt with income elasticity amongst this group. Conclusion: As the price and the income effect may pull in opposite directions, the full effect on drug use is difficult to predict. Still, it seems likely that an economic downturn of the current magnitude could increase the use of drugs.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science BV


Bright DA; Hughes CE; Chalmers J. Illuminating dark networks: A social network analysis of an Australian drug trafficking syndicate. Crime, Law and Social Change 57(2, special issue): 151-176, 2012. (44 refs.)

A small but growing number of analysts of criminal activity have used social network analysis (SNA) to characterise criminal organisations and produce valuable insights into the operation of illicit markets. The successful conduct of SNA requires data that informs about links or relationships between pairs of individuals within the group. To date analyses have been undertaken with data extracted from offender databases, transcripts of physical or electronic surveillance, written summaries of police interrogations, and transcripts of court proceedings. These data can be expensive, time-consuming and complicated to access and analyse. This paper presents findings from a study which aimed to determine the feasibility and utility of conducting SNA using a novel source of data: judges' sentencing comments. Free of charge, publically accessible without the need for ethics clearance, available at the completion of sentencing and summary in nature, this data offers a more accessible and less expensive alternative to the usual forms of data used. The judges' sentencing comments were drawn from a series of Australian court cases involving members of a criminal group involved in the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine during the 1990s. Feasibility is evaluated in terms of the ability to produce a network map and generate the types of quantitative measures produced in studies using alternate data sources. The utility of the findings is judged in relation to the insights they provide into the structure and operation of criminal groups in Australia's methamphetamine market.

Copyright 2012, Springer


Bright DA; Ritter A. Australian trends in drug user and drug dealer arrest rates: 1993 to 2006-07. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 18(2): 190-201, 2011. (21 refs.)

There is a paucity of data available in a concise, accessible form that maps trends in illicit drug crime offences for different types of drugs. The aim of the current article was to collate data on arrests for illicit drugs, examine trends for the main illicit drug types, and explore some potential explanations for emergent trends. Trends for provider-type and consumer-type offences are reviewed in terms of the number of offences per year, and the proportion of total illicit drug offences for each year for each type of drug across the period 1993 to 2006-07. The main findings are: (a) substantially more users than dealers are arrested, (b) the stability of the ratio between consumer-type and provider-type arrests suggests a longstanding law enforcement focus on targeting drug users relative to drug dealers, (c) cannabis arrests consistently account for the greatest proportion of arrests, (d) the proportion of total provider-type arrests for cannabis decreased by 30% between 1993 and 2006-07, (e) heroin arrests peaked in 1998-1999, then declined rapidly around the time of the Australian heroin shortage, and have showed a decline since that time, and (f) arrests for amphetamine-type stimulants and phenethylamines have steadily increased between the early 1990s through to 2006-07. Potential explanations for trends in drug arrests are posited, such as changes in the prevalence of use and shifts in law enforcement focus. The methodological weaknesses of the data are summarized and areas for future research are suggested.

Copyright 2011, Australian Academy Press


Bruci Z; Papoutsis I; Athanaselis S; Nikolaou P; Pazari E; Spiliopoulou C et al. First systematic evaluation of the potency of Cannabis sativa plants grown in Albania. Forensic Science International 222(1-3): 40-46, 2012. (43 refs.)

Cannabis products (marijuana, hashish, cannabis oil) are the most frequently abused illegal substances worldwide. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa plant, whereas cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are other major but no psychoactive constituents. Many studies have already been carried out on these compounds and chemical research was encouraged due to the legal implications concerning the misuse of marijuana. The aim of this study was to determine THC, CBD and CBN in a significant number of cannabis samples of Albanian origin, where cannabis is the most frequently used drug of abuse, in order to evaluate and classify them according to their cannabinoid composition. A GC-MS method was used, in order to assay cannabinoid content of hemp samples harvested at different maturation degree levels during the summer months and grown in different areas of Albania. This method can also be used for the determination of plant phenotype, the evaluation of psychoactive potency and the control of material quality. The highest cannabinoid concentrations were found in the flowers of cannabis. The THC concentrations in different locations of Albania ranged from 1.07 to 12.13%. The influence of environmental conditions on cannabinoid content is discussed. The cannabinoid content of cannabis plants were used for their profiling, and it was used for their classification, according to their geographical origin. The determined concentrations justify the fact that Albania is an area where cannabis is extensively cultivated for illegal purposes.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Bukten A; Skurtveit S; Stangeland P; Gossop M; Willersrud AB; Waal H et al. Criminal convictions among dependent heroin users during a 3-year period prior to opioid maintenance treatment.: A longitudinal national cohort study. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 41(4): 407-414, 2011. (42 refs.)

This study investigates frequency and types of criminal convictions among a national sample of heroin users during a 3-year period prior to opioid maintenance treatment (OMT). All heroin users (N = 3,789) in Norway who applied for and were eligible for OMT (1997-2003) were included. The OMT records were cross-linked to Norwegian crime statistics. During observation, 24,478 convictions were recorded among 60.9% of the sample. Differences of criminal convictions were found within the group; a large proportion (39.1%) had no convictions, whereas 10% of the sample was responsible for 37.8% of all convictions. Convictions for acquisitive crimes and drug crimes were the most common. Variations in the cohort's individual crime sequences were found. The heavy involvement of heroin users with the criminal justice system provides an opportunity to intervene with dependent offenders. Coordination between treatment providers and police or courts can play an important role in improving outcomes through better access to treatment.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Burgdorf JR; Kilmer B; Pacula RL. Heterogeneity in the composition of marijuana seized in California. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 117(1): 59-61, 2011. (22 refs.)

Background: Marijuana contains multiple cannabinoids. Most attention is given to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which produces euphoria and in some cases anxiety and panic reactions. Research suggests that another cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), may offset some of these effects. Thus, there is growing interest in the health consequences of the THC to CBD ratio for marijuana. Methods: Using data from over 5000 marijuana samples in California from 1996 to 2008, we examine changes in the median THC-level, median CBD-level, and median THC:CBD-ratio. Results: The median THC-level and median THC:CBD-ratio have dramatically increased for seizures in California, particularly north of the Mexican border. Conclusion: Research on the consequences of the THC:CBD ratio should continue, especially as more attention is devoted to thinking about how to regulate marijuana for medical and recreational use. Researchers should also consider the lack of uniformity in the chemical composition of marijuana when evaluating its health effects.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Burillo-Putze G; Becker LT; Rodriguez MG; Torres JS; Nogue S. Liquid cocaine body packers. Clinical Toxicology 50(6): 522-524, 2012. (8 refs.)

Introduction. Internal transport of cocaine in liquid form by body packers has been reported by the media, but there are no scientific publications on the clinical aspects of this practice. Case reports. We describe two cases of body packers bearing 36 and 4 packs containing liquid cocaine in the colon and rectum, respectively. Abdominal X-ray in both cases showed radiological characteristics that differed from those commonly found in body packers transporting solid-state cocaine, heroin, or cannabis (packs with lower radiological density, diffuse borders, elongated and resembling feces). Both patients were asymptomatic and were discharged from the emergency department 6 hours after admission. Discussion. Expulsion time after laxative administration was shorter compared to "solid" drug body packers. The diagnostic sensitivity of different imaging techniques remains to be established for internally concealed liquid drugs. There have been press reports of internal pack rupture resulting in death, so caution is required. The lower radiographic density of liquid cocaine condom packs and their adaptability to intestinal anatomy make them difficult to detect using plain abdominal radiography. Physicians should be aware of the possibility of false negative radiological findings in these cases.

Copyright 2012, Informa Healthcare


Byrd SM; O'Rouke B. Dealing Deaths and Drugs: The big business of dope in the U.S. and Mexico, an argument to end the prohibition of marijuana. El Paso TX: Cinco Puntos Press, 2011

The failure of the war on drugs became apparent to the authors as they considered why the sister-city to El Pas. Ciudad Juarez had become the most deadly city in the world. The book examines the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition. The authors argue that black market is so profitable that drug kingpins are billionaires and drug control doesn't stand a chance. Using Juarez as the their focus, they describe the business model of drug trafficking and explain how it has contributed to the tragedy taking place in that city today. The authors have been El Paso City Representatives and conclude that American drug use and the United States' failed War on Drugs are at the core of the problem they see before them. They describe the minutia of the drug trade at the Mexico- US border. For example, in order to own the right of free movement of an illegal product through a locale in Mexico, drug cartels have negotiated a 'plaza,' an exclusive franchise agreement with law enforcement and police interests. Or, the 1,900 pounds of marijuana that is seized in Chicago, would have originated in a cartel payment of $43,700 to a farmer in Mexico. Its value to the cartel makes this a modest investment. The book describes the means of smuggling the marijuana in to the U.S - ranging from loads of 1,000 or more pounds in semi-trucks of food and cargo, or a few pounds at a time, strapped to the body of mules walking across a bridge. It also describe the variety of roles in the drug trade, such as the "halcones" (hawks) who monitor the international trade through ports and advice on the best times, routes and strategies to cross the border.

Copyright 2012, Project Cork


Carhart-Harris RL; King LA; Nutt DJ. A web-based survey on mephedrone. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 118(1): 19-22, 2011. (5 refs.)

Background: This study sought to collect information on the former legal-high 'mephedrone' using a web-based survey targeted at mephedrone users. Methods: The survey was advertised on websites frequented by drug users. Individuals were invited to complete the survey if they had taken mephedrone on at least one occasion in the past. Results: One thousand and six completed forms were received from declared users, making this the largest survey on mephedrone to date. Conclusion: Results showed that mephedrone users consider its effects to compare best with those of MDMA, and while MDMA was considered marginally safer and its effects more pleasurable, mephedrone's appeal lay in its availability, low price and reliable purity.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Carroll FI; Lewin AH; Mascarella SW; Seltzman HH; Reddy PA. Designer drugs: A medicinal chemistry perspective. Addiction Reviews. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1248: 18-38, 2012. (117 refs.)

There are numerous medicinal chemistry reports in the literature describing the pharmacological properties of thousands of narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, sedative-hypnotic drugs, cannabinoids, and other psychoactive substances as well as synthetic methods for their preparations. This information, while essential for the advancement of science, has been used by clandestine chemists to manufacture and market an endless variety of analogs of so-called designer drugs. In this review, we describe how clandestine chemists used the principles of medicinal chemistry to design molecules, referred to as designer drugs, that elicit the effects of opioids, amphetamine and analogs, cannabinoids, and phencyclidine analogs while circumventing the law.

Copyright 2012, Blackwell Science


Collins M. Some new psychoactive substances: Precursor chemicals and synthesis-driven end-products. (review). Drug Testing and Analysis 3(7-8, special issue): 404-416, 2011. (59 refs.)

This paper describes some of the new classes of 'designer drugs' being encountered today by forensic scientists and law enforcement agencies in Europe, the United States, and Australia. In particular, it concentrates on new cathinone derivatives, the tryptamines, new-generation phenethylamines, and some of the synthetic cannabinoids. The synthetic approaches towards many of these designer drugs including a discussion of the chemical precursors used in the syntheses are presented. Many of today's so-called designer drugs exist as a result of legitimate research into medical conditions and the natural product chemistry. A link between synthetic approaches published in the open scientific and medical literature and the exploitation of this research by clandestine manufacture of drugs for illicit purposes is drawn.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Copes H; Brunson RK; Forsyth CJ; White H. Leaving no stone unturned: Exploring responses to and consequences of failed crack-for-car transactions. Journal of Drug Issues 41(1): 151-173, 2011. (44 refs.)

A sizeable number of crack cocaine users trade temporary use of their vehicles for small amounts of the drug. While the majority of these crack-for-car contracts are fulfilled without police intervention, many are not. These failed arrangements have the potential to cause a wide range of problems for police and the community. Using semi-structured interviews with police officers and active crack cocaine users, we examine how crack-for-car transactions come to law enforcement officers' attention and how police respond to and perceive the practice. Findings reveal that police believe that these incidents: artificially increase motor vehicle theft rates, waste police resources, perpetuate the drug market, and contribute to tenuous police-citizen relations. Findings have important implications for understanding police-citizen interactions and for developing effective policies.

Copyright 2011, Florida State University


Cordaro FG; Lombardo S; Cosentino M. Selling androgenic anabolic steroids by the pound: Identification and analysis of popular websites on the Internet. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 21(6): E247-E259, 2011. (34 refs.)

Internet websites offering androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) were identified and available products were examined. Keywords for the website search were: "anabolic steroids," "anabolic steroids buy," "anabolic steroid purchase." The first 10 websites offering AAS in the first 10 pages of results were considered. At least two AAS-containing products per website were selected. Thirty AAS-selling websites were identified, mainly located in the United States (46.7%) and Europe (30%). Most websites sold other anabolic/ergogenic products (clenbuterol, 76.7%; GH/IGF, 60.0%; thyroid hormones, 46.7%; erythropoietin, 30.0%; insulin, 20.0%) or products for AAS-related adverse effects (mainly: estrogen antagonists, 63.3%; products for erectile dysfunction, 56.7%; 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors, 33.3%; anti-acne products, 33.3%). AAS were sold as medicines (69.6%) or as dietary supplements (30.4%). AAS in medicines were mainly: nandronole (20.4%), methandrostenolone (18.4%), and testosterone (12.2%). Dietary supplements contained mainly DHEA and included several fake compounds. Manufacturers were declared for 97.9% of medicines and 66.7% of dietary supplements; however, several manufacturers were not found on the Internet. Described benefits were usually few adverse effects and no estrogenicity. Toxicity was seldom reported and presented as mild. Recommended doses were two-fourfold higher than current medical recommendations. In conclusion, misleading information and deceiving practices were common findings on AAS-selling websites, indicating their deleterious potential for public health.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Decorte T; Potter G; Bouchard M, eds. World Wide Weed: Global Trends in Cannabis Cultivation and Its Control. London: Ashgate, 2011. (Chapter refs.)

For the majority of its history, the cultivation of cannabis did not stand out, at least compared to the cultivation of other illegal plants. Cannabis plantations, like coca bush or opium poppy plantations, were typically large in size, grown by local farmers in a handful of developing (producing) countries, processed and then exported to industrial (consuming) nations. While cocaine and heroin are still produced in a handful of developing countries, cannabis cultivation is increasingly universal. From Europe to the Americas and Oceania, import substitution in cannabis markets has been noticed in almost every developed country around the world, with a notable aversion for discrimination. Geographical, technological, cultural and economic factors help to explain why (indoor and outdoor) domestic cultivation is well established, and why the nature and extent of cultivation varies so dramatically across the western, developed nations. The new cannabis industry fascinates both casual and academic observers of the drug scene. Researchers around the world have become increasingly interested in the phenomenon, aiming to describe, and potentially explain, the rapid switch from importation to domestic production in their own countries. It examines not only theories and concepts relating to the spread not just of cannabis cultivation, but also of illegal markets, the actors that operate within these markets and the policies and practices that are employed in response to developments within these markets. The book, with sixteen chapters and 26 contributors, is organized into three sections. Following an introduction describing the globalization of cannabis cultivation, Part I address the traditional producing nations with a focus on the English-speaking countries in the Caribbean and cultivation in the Moraccan Rif. Part II moves to discuss cultivation in the developed world, with chapters dealing with the rise of medical marijuana; the justifications of the small growers; common 'stories', 'facts', and 'myths' pertaining to views of quality and potency; the nature of organized crime networks; and examination of cultivation in the United States; and cultivation in Spain. Part III focuses on the responses to cultivation in the developed world, considering the rise of coffee shops; changes in laws reflective of a harm reduction strategy; a review of cannabis properties and experiments for its biological control; seizure rates and crop eradication in New Zealand, and approaches to eradication elsewhere; and emerging trends.

Copyright 2012, Project Cork


Degenhardt L; Hall W. Extent of illicit drug use and dependence, and their contribution to the global burden of disease. Lancet 379(9810): 55-70, 2012. (143 refs.)

This paper summarises data for the prevalence, correlates, and probable adverse health consequences of problem use of amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, and opioids. We discuss findings from systematic reviews of the prevalence of illicit drug use and dependence, remission from dependence, and mortality in illicit drug users, and evidence for acute and chronic effects of illicit drug use. We outline the regional and global distribution of use and estimated health burden from illicit drugs. These distributions are likely to be underestimates because they have not included all adverse outcomes of drug use and exclude those of cannabis-the mostly widely used illicit drug. In high-income countries, illicit drug use contributes less to the burden of disease than does tobacco but a substantial proportion of that due to alcohol. The major adverse health effects of cannabis use are dependence and probably psychotic disorders and other mental disorders. The health-related harms of cannabis use differ from those of amphetamine, cocaine, and opioid use, in that cannabis contributes little to mortality. Intelligent policy responses to drug problems need better data for the prevalence of different types of illicit drug use and the harms that their use causes globally. This need is especially urgent in high-income countries with substantial rates of illicit drug use and in low-income and middle-income countries close to illicit drug production areas.

Copyright 2012, Lancet Ltd.


Dillon P; Copeland J. Synthetic Cannabinoids: The Australian Experience. Bulletin 13. Sydney: National Cannabis Prevention and Intervention Centre (NCPIC), 2012. (46 refs.)

A wide range of legal 'herbal' products, claiming to have similar effects to cannabis, have been available in Australia for many years. This Bulletin provides a background of is known about synthetic cannabinoids. What are they, who uses them and why, and what harms have been identified in their use? Cannabinoids' are a structurally diverse family of compounds with a large number of biological targets and can be classified into three groups: phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids. The effects of all three groups of cannabinoids reflect the areas of the brain where they interact. Phytocannabinoids are only found in significant quantity in the cannabis plant. The synthetic cannabinoids act like THC; they bind to the same receptors In Australia, some synthetic cannabinoids have been used for medicinal purposes and have been scheduled as controlled substances (Rimonabant, subsequently removed from the market due to severe side effects, Nabilone, and Dronabinol.) Since 2004, herbal mixtures marketed as incense or air freshener became widely available worldwide via the Internet or head shops, and became marijuana substitutes. Product warnings state they were not intended for human consumption, but inconsistent with broad marketing presenting them as a cannabis alternative, undetectable by conventional drug testing. Spice was a well known product; and studies found that there is also variability in the combinations and concentrations of the synthetic cannabinoids within them. Thus Spice products, whether different brands, or different batches, can produce dramatically different effects. In terms of who uses synthetic cannabinoids and why, there is limited epidemiological data which can shed light on this. The major reports come from emergency room encounters. This indicates there was a diverse profile of use patterns -- but primarily male with more than 12 years of education, with 21% identifying Spice products as their preferred drug. The primary reasons for use were curiosity, positive drug effect, relaxation and to get high without having a positive drug test. Another study identified five possible reasons prompting use; that they induce psychoactive effects; they are legal (even though many products have been controlled in some countries, they are still legal in many, and this leads to heavy global marketing); they are readily available and highly attractive; they are perceived as safe; and they are not easily detectable in urine and blood samples. Of note, synthetic cannabinoids are often classified as 'research chemicals', thus not approved for human consumption. The majority have only been recently synthesized and little, if any data has been available on their effects, adverse reactions, long-term damage, or dependence potential. In Australia, synthetic cannabinoid products have been available for some time by Internet and specialist adult stores (e.g., 'sex shops' or 'head shops') or tobacconists. Although Spice is certainly the most well-known product, other products including Kalma, Voodoo, Kaos and Mango Kush are believed to contain synthetic cannabinoids. It was not until early 2011, that, following the growing media interest in the product 'Kronic', that Australian authorities began to focus their attention on this rapidly emerging class of drugs. The dominant brand of 'Kronic,' is produced and distributed by a New Zealand firm,. with the synthetic cannabinoids thought to be imported from China. Some workplaces -- particularly in the mining industry -- have reported impairments from synthetic cannabinoids. These helped prompt governmental responses. In New Zealand, synthetic cannabinoids were declared controlled substances. On the heels of that Australia took similar steps.

Copyright 2012, Project Cork


D'Orazio JL; Curtis JA. Overdose of propafenone surreptitiously sold as "percocet". Journal of Emergency Medicine 41(2): 172-175, 2011. (12 refs.)

Background: Drug abuse is a common problem in the United States. Drugs can be acquired in many ways, and can be knowingly or mistakenly misrepresented when sold. Propafenone is an uncommonly encountered class IC antidysrhythmic that is a look-alike for the opioid, oxycodone/acetaminophen 5/325. Objective: We report a case of propafenone overdose presenting with generalized tonic-clonic seizure and a widened QRS complex, occurring after the patient had reported ingesting "Percocet (R)" (Endo Pharmaceuticals, Chadds Ford, PA). Case Report: A 17-year-old boy presented to the emergency department (ED) after a witnessed seizure lasting 2 min. The patient reported having ingested 6 "Percocet (R)" tablets that he purchased from a classmate. He noted feeling weak and dizzy approximately 3 h after the ingestion, just before the seizure. On arrival in the ED, the patient was awake and alert with a QRS length of 168 ms. A sodium bicarbonate bolus and infusion shortened the QRS length to 90 ms. The patient was discharged the following day with no further complications. The pills were identified as propafenone hydrochloride (HCI) 225-mg tablets. The classmate surreptitiously sold the pills as "Percocet (R)" due to their similar "512" imprint. Conclusions: Pharmaceutical drugs are often sold on the street, and often misrepresented. Propafenone HCI 225-mg is an uncommonly encountered pharmaceutical, but is a look-alike for oxycodone/acetaminophen 5/325. An overdose due to propafenone ingestion may present with seizures and a widened QRS complex.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Evered KT. 'Poppies are democracy!' A critical geopolitics of opium eradication and reintroduction into Turkey. Geographical Review 101(3): 299-315, 2011. (60 refs.)

Historical scholarship in traditional geopolitics often relied on documents authored by states and by other influential actors. Although much work in the subfield of critical geopolitics thus far has addressed imbalances constructed in official, academic, and popular media due to a privileging of such narratives, priority might also be given to unearthing and bringing to light alternative geopolitical perspectives from otherwise marginalized populations. Utilizing the early-1970s case of the United States' first 'war on drugs,' this article examines the geopolitics of opium-poppy eradication and its consequences within Turkey. Employing not only archival and secondary sources but also oral histories from now-retired poppy farmers, this study examines the diffusion of U.S. antinarcotics policies into the Anatolian countryside and the enduring impressions that the United States and Turkish government created. In doing so, this research gives voice to those farmers targeted by eradication policies and speaks more broadly to matters of narcotics control, sentiments of anti-Americanism, and notions of democracy in Turkey and the region, past and present.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Fattore L; Fratta W. Beyond THC: The new generation of cannabinoid designer drugs. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 5: 60, 2011

Synthetic cannabinoids are functionally similar to delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive principle of cannabis, and bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain and peripheral organs. From 2008, synthetic cannabinoids were detected in herbal smoking mixtures sold on websites and in "head shops" under the brand name of Spice Gold, Yucatan Fire, Aroma, and others. Although these products (also known as "Spice drugs" or "legal highs") do not contain tobacco or cannabis, when smoked they produce effects similar to THC. Intoxication, withdrawal, psychosis, and death have been recently reported after consumption, posing difficult social, political, and health challenges. More than 140 different Spice products have been identified to date. The ability to induce strong cannabis-like psychoactive effects, along with the fact that they are readily available on the Internet, still legal in many countries, marketed as natural safe substances, and undetectable by conventional drug screening tests, has rendered these drugs very popular and particularly appealing to young and drug-naive individuals seeking new experiences. An escalating number of compounds with cannabinoid receptor activity are currently being found as ingredients of Spice, of which almost nothing is known in terms of pharmacology, toxicology, and safety. Since legislation started to control the synthetic cannabinoids identified in these herbal mixtures, many new analogs have appeared on the market. New cannabimimetic compounds are likely to be synthesized in the near future to replace banned synthetic cannabinoids, leading to a "dog chasing its tail" situation. Spice smokers are exposed to drugs that are extremely variable in composition and potency, and are at risk of serious, if not lethal, outcomes. Social and health professionals should maintain a high degree of alertness for Spice use and its possible psychiatric effects in vulnerable people.

Copyright 2011, Frontiers Media


Ferguson KM; Bender K; Thompson S; Xie B; Pollio D. Correlates of street-survival behaviors in homeless young adults in four US cities. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 81(3): 401-409, 2011. (49 refs.)

This study assessed the prevalence and correlates of behaviors used by homeless young people to survive on the streets. Survival behaviors include prostitution, selling blood or plasma, dealing drugs, stealing, and panhandling. One hundred ninety-six homeless young adults from 4 metropolitan areas-Los Angeles, CA (n = 50); Austin, TX (n = 50); Denver, CO (n = 50); and St. Louis, MO (n = 46)-participated in individual, semistructured, face-to-face interviews. Researchers predicted that youth transience would be related to high rates of survival behaviors. Multivariate logistic regression was used to test a model predicting relationships between survival behaviors and transience, employment, substance use, and social support. Young adults who were transient, unemployed, drug-addicted, and reliant on peers for help were more likely to use these survival behaviors. In addition, among the transient subsample, being White, more reliant on peers for help, more transient, and having been victimized were associated with high use of these survival behaviors. Identification of the environmental and demographic factors associated with survival behaviors suggests that there may be value in combining harm-reduction strategies with efforts to reduce the transience of homeless young adults.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Fine D. Too High to Fail. Los Angeles: Gotham, 2012

The nation's economy is in trouble, but there's one cash crop that has the potential to turn it around: cannabis (also known as marijuana and hemp). It has been estimated that the legal medicinal cannabis economy already generates $200 million annually in taxable proceeds from a mere two hundred thousand registered medical users in just fourteen states. However, at the federal level cannabis largely remains synonymous with heroin even though it has won mainstream acceptance nationwide. The underground cannabis sales are estimated to be in the vicinity of $35.8 billion annually. Thus revenues exceed the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion). Considering the economic impact of Prohibition -- and its repeal -- the book isn't a commune-dweller's utopian rant, it's an objectively (if humorously) reported account of how one plant can drastically change the shape of our country, culturally, politically, and economically. The author covers everything from a brief history of hemp to an insider's perspective on a growing season in Mendocino County, where cannabis drives 80% of its economy. The author, an investigative journalist, follows one plant from seed to patient in the first American county to fully legalize and regulate cannabis farming.

Copyright 2012, Project Cork


Ford JA; Lacerenza C. The relationship between source of diversion and prescription drug misuse, abuse, and dependence. Substance Use & Misuse 46(6): 819-827, 2011. (51 refs.)

The current research examines the relationship between how people obtain prescription drugs (source of diversion) and how people misuse prescription drugs (i.e., frequency, abuse, and dependence). We analyzed data from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health public use file, a sample of 68,736 persons aged 12 and older that is generalizable to the noninstitutionalized population of the United States. A number of regression models were estimated, and findings indicate that source of diversion was significantly correlated to frequency of prescription drug misuse, abuse, and dependence. Given these findings, we believe any attempt to classify prescription drug misusers based on certain characteristics should include source of diversion.

Copyright 2011, Informa Healthcare


Freisthler B; Kepple NJ; Holmes MR. The geography of drug market activities and child maltreatment. Child Maltreatment 17(2): 144-152, 2012. (27 refs.)

This study examines how drug market activities place children at risk of maltreatment over space and time. Data were collected for 95 Census tracts in Sacramento, California, over 7 years and were analyzed using Bayesian space-time models. Referrals for child maltreatment investigations were less likely to occur in places where current drug market activity was present. However, past-year local and spatially lagged drugs sales were positively related to referrals. After the investigative phase, Census tracts with more drug sales had higher numbers of substantiations, and those with more possessions also had more entries into foster care. The temporal delay between drug sales and child maltreatment referrals may indicate that the surveillance systems designed to protect children may not be responsive to changing neighborhood conditions or be indicative of the time it takes for the detrimental effects of the drug use to appear.

Copyright 2012, Sage Publications


Galenianos M; Pacula RL; Persico N. A search-theoretic model of the retail market for illicit drugs. Review of Economic Studies 79(3): 1239-1269, 2012. (31 refs.)

A search-theoretic model of the retail market for illegal drugs is developed. Trade occurs in bilateral, potentially long-lived matches between sellers and buyers. Buyers incur search costs when experimenting with a new seller. Moral hazard is present because buyers learn purity only after a trade is made. This model is consistent with some new stylized facts about the drugs market, and it is informative for policy design. The effectiveness of different enforcement strategies is evaluated, including some novel ones that leverage the moral hazard present in the market.

Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press


Garriott W. Policing Methamphetamine: Narcopolitics in Rural America. New York: New York University Press, 2011

Methamphetamine use and production has spread across the United States, and described by some as "the most dangerous drug in America." Increasingly communities have beeb a significant effort to address the methamphetamine problem by identifying the people at its source -- those known or suspected to be involved with methamphetamine, from production, to distribution, to use. Government-sponsored anti-methamphetamine legislation has enhanced these local efforts, formally and informally encouraging rural residents to identify meth offenders in their communities. This book focuses upon the impacts in everyday life, when methamphetamine becomes an object of collective concern. This anthropological work is based on interviews with users, police officers, judges, and parents and friends of addicts in one West Virginia town. Seemingly, this overriding effort to confront the problem has changed the character of the community as well as the role of law in creating and maintaining social order. Ultimately, this work addresses the impact of methamphetamine and, more generally, the war on drugs, on everyday life in the United States.

Copyright 2012, Project Cork


Goebel JR; Compton P; Zubkoff L; Lanto A; Asch SM; Sherbourne CD et al. Prescription sharing, alcohol use, and street drug use to manage pain among veterans. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 41(5): 848- 858, 2011. (69 refs.)

Context. Efforts to promote awareness and management of chronic pain have been accompanied by a troubling increase in prescription medication abuse. At the same time, some patients may misuse substances in an effort to manage chronic pain. Objectives. This study examines self-reported substance misuse for pain management among veterans and identifies the contributing factors. Methods. We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Help Veterans Experience Less Pain study. Results. Of 343 veterans, 35.3% reported an aberrant pain management behavior (24% reported using alcohol, 11.7% reported using street drugs, and 16.3% reported sharing prescriptions to manage pain). Poorer mental health, younger age, substance use disorders (SUDs), number of nonpain symptoms, and greater pain severity and interference were associated with aberrant pain management behaviors. In multivariate analysis, SUDs (odds ratio [OR]: 3.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.3-6.7, P < 0.000) and poorer mental health (OR: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.3-4.3, P = 0.006) were associated with using alcohol or street drugs to manage pain; SUDs (OR: 2.4, 95% CI: 1.3-4.4, P - 0.006) and pain interference (OR: 1.1, 95% CI: 1.0-1.2, P = 0.047) were associated with prescription sharing; and SUDs (OR: 3.6, 95% CI: 2.2-6.1, P < 0.000) and number of nonpain symptoms (OR: 6.5, 95% CI: 1.2-35.4, P = 0.031) were associated with any aberrant pain management behavior. Conclusion. Veterans with a history of SUDs, greater pain interference, more nonpain symptoms, and mental health concerns should be carefully managed to deter substance misuse for pain management.

Copyright 2011, U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee


Gong WD; Ritter A; Bright D; Doran C. How profitable is methamphetamine dealing in Australia? Drug and Alcohol Dependence 122(3): 208-212, 2012. (37 refs.)

Introduction: The illicit drug trade is the largest in value among global illicit commodities, at some $320 billion US dollars, according to the UN World Drug Report. Endeavours to control such a large illicit market would be enhanced by improved understanding of the economics of the trade. However, due to its illicit nature many aspects of the illicit drug market are largely unknown. This study explored one economic aspect of illicit drug dealing, profitability, with the aim of developing a better picture of the financial gains from illicit drug dealing. Methods: Data were obtained from judges sentencing remarks, key informants from law enforcement, and other published reports which detail the prices paid for methamphetamine in Australia. The financial margins attained from non-crystal methamphetamine dealing in Australia were calculated by examining the best fit for the relationship between prices and quantities: in this case a power law. Results: If it is assumed that a single deal is divided ("cut") between 4 times and 20 times before selling to the next customer, the mark-ups can range from 24% to 59%. The mark-ups appear low compared with those found in US research, but similar to those found in UK research. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to analyse profitability of methamphetamine dealing in Australia. The findings of this study will help in understanding the motivations and decisions of drug dealers, and potentially assist drug law enforcement agencies to design better strategies to dismantle supply chain linkages which generate excessive profits.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Gootenberg P. Cocaine's long march north, 1900-2010. Latin American Politics and Society 54(1): 159-180, 2012. (34 refs.)

This essay charts the entanglements and blowback effects of U.S. policy toward Latin American drug exports over the last century as the backdrop to today's cascading drug violence in northern Mexico. The history of cocaine reveals a series of major geopolitical shifts (closely related to U.S. interdictionist drug war policies) that bring drug commodity chains, illicit trafficking centers, and conflicts, over the long run, closer to the United States. It analyzes shifts from initial legal cocaine and small-time postwar smuggling of the central Andes to the concentrating 1970s - 1990s cartel epicenter in northern Andean Colombia, to the 1990s political shift north to Mexican transhipment and organizational leadership. Violence around cocaine has intensified at every step, and the present conflict portends another shift in the chain.

Copyright 2012, Wiley-Blackwell


Griffiths P; Mounteney J; Laniel L. Understanding changes in heroin availability in Europe over time: Emerging evidence for a slide, a squeeze and a shock. (editorial). Addiction 107(9): 1539-1540, 2012. (9 refs.)


Hakkarainen P; Frank VA; Perala J; Dahl HV. Small-scale cannabis growers in Denmark and Finland. European Addiction Research 17(3): 119-128, 2011. (46 refs.)

Aims: To compare domestic cannabis cultivation in Denmark and Finland to describe national characteristics in small-scale cannabis growing. Design:: A Web survey conducted among small-scale cannabis growers in Denmark (June to November 2008) and Finland (May to June 2009). Participants: Current cannabis growers (Denmark, 401; Finland, 1,054). Measurements: Comparisons in regard to social background, growing history, practices, purposes and motives of growing, and perceptions of risks. Findings: Cannabis was cultivated primarily for own use, but sharing with friends and avoiding criminal circles also were significant motives for growing. Finnish growers prioritized indoor cultivation, whereas the Danes were more in favor of open-air plantations. Risks of getting caught by the police were observed to be greater in Finland. Growing for medical purposes was twice as prevalent in Finland as in Denmark. Conclusions: Cannabis growing is a stronger and more novel phenomenon in Finland than in Denmark, but both countries have been influenced by international trends. Finnish and Danish small-scale cannabis cultivators can be considered to be ideologically oriented lifestyle growers. Differences in the magnitude of the phenomenon may reflect differences in the availability and quality of cannabis in national drug markets. The Internet had promoted the spreading of the trend.

Copyright 2011, Karger


Hantson P; Capron A; Wallemacq P. Toxicokinetics of cocaine and metabolites in a body-packer becoming symptomatic. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 18(8): 385-387, 2011. (8 refs.)

Life-threatening complications may occur in body-packers and the rupture of a single packet containing cocaine may lead to fatality. We report the case of a 35-year-old body-packer who developed at the airport clinical signs of cocaine toxicity. There was evidence of bowel obstruction. The plasma concentration of cocaine, benzoylecgonine (BZE) and ecgonine methyl ester (EME) was determined 1h after symptoms onset, during surgery and postoperative period. The measured peak value at 1h was 594ng/ml for cocaine, 9423ng/ml for BZE and 3261ng/ml for EME. We confirm the following order BZE>EME>cocaine for peak plasma concentrations. A rebound in plasma levels was found during surgery, together with electrocardiographic changes. A total of 107 packets were eliminated, and the patient survived.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Huang KC; Zhang LN; Liu JH. Drug problems in contemporary China: A profile of Chinese drug users in a metropolitan area. International Journal of Drug Policy 22(2): 128- 132, 2011. (14 refs.)

Background: Drug problems are reemerging in China since the nation implemented economic reform and an "open door" policy in the early 1980s. This is causing both national and international concern. However, knowledge and understanding of the Chinese drug problem is fairly limited because of the nation's unique social and political history. In response to this shortage of information, our study presents a profile of Chinese drug users. Methods: Data were collected from a survey of drug users attending mandatory treatment centres in a large city in 2009. We present a demographic profile of the drug users, describe their patterns of drug use, their access to drugs and their history of drug treatment. Results: Chinese drug users, like those from the U.S., are likely to be unemployed and have a low level of education. However, they are more likely than those in the U.S. to use heroin, Bingdu (methamphetamine) and Maguo (a derivative of methamphetamine), and they pay less for their drugs. Conclusion: This profile of drug users is informative and valuable for drug prevention, intervention, and treatment in the Chinese setting because knowing and understanding the drug population is essential for effective control.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Hughes CE; Chalmers J; Bright DA; Matthew-Simmons F; Sindicich N. Examining supply changes in Australia's cocaine market. Drug and Alcohol Review 31(3): 263-272, 2012. (55 refs.)

Introduction and Aims. Media attention to cocaine use and supply has increased following some of the largest cocaine seizures in Australia's history. Whether there has been an expansion in supply remains unclear. This paper examines the evidence behind assertions of increased supply in Australia and the scale and nature of any apparent increase, using proxy indicators of cocaine importation, distribution and use. Design and Methods. Eight proxies of cocaine importation, distribution and use were adopted, including amount of importation, mode of importation and supply flows to Australia. Each proxy indicator was sourced using publicly available and Australia-wide data, including information on the total weight of border seizures, mode of detection and country of embarkation of individual seizures. Data permitting, trends were examined for up to a 12 year period (1997-1998 to 2009-2010). Results. Since 2006-2007 there was evidence of increased cocaine importation, albeit less than between 1998-1999 and 2001-2002. There were further signs that the 2006-2007 expansion coincided with a diversification of trafficking routes to and through Australia (beyond the traditional site of entry-Sydney) and shifts in the geographic distribution of use. Discussion and Conclusions. The congruity between indicators suggests that there has been a recent expansion in cocaine supply to and distribution within Australia, but that the more notable shift has concerned the nature of supply, with an apparent growth in importation and distribution beyond New SouthWales. The diversification of cocaine supply routes may increase risks of market entrenchment and organised crime throughout Australia.

Copyright 2012, Wiley-Blackwell


Inkster N; Comolli V. Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: The Problems of Prohibition. New York: Routledge, 2012

The world's wealthiest nations have expended vast blood and treasure in tracking and capturing traffickers, dealers and consumers of narcotics, as well as destroying crops and confiscating shipments. Yet the global trade in illicit drugs is thriving with no apparent change in the level of consumption despite decades of prohibition. This book argues that the present enforcement regime is not only failing to win the "war on drugs"; it is also igniting and prolonging that conflict on the streets of producer and transit countries, where the supply chain has become interwoven with state institutions and cartels have become embroiled in violence against their rivals and with security forces. What can be done to secure the worst affected regions and states, such as Latin America and Afghanistan? By examining the destabilizing effects of prohibition, as well as alternative approaches such as that adopted by the authorities in Portugal, this book shows how progress may be made by treating consumption as a health-care issue rather than a criminal matter, thereby freeing states to tackle the cartels and traffickers who hold their communities to ransom. Individuals chapters address: Size of the drugs trade; Globalization and the rise of transnational organized crime; Organized crime and conflict; What's special about narcotics?; Prohibition and the producer states; The transit regions -- Central Africa and West Africa; Alternatives to prohibition; Opposition to legalization; and Licit production.

Copyright 2012, Project Cork


Jaramillo-Escobar L; Thoumi FE. Creative drug consumption and production in Medellin, Colombia. (editorial). Substance Use & Misuse 47(5): 594-595, 2012. (0 refs.)


Karch SB; Mari F; Bartolini V; Bertol E. Aminorex poisoning in cocaine abusers. (review). International Journal of Cardiology 158(3): 344-346, 2012. (43 refs.)

Levamisole is found in more than 80% of illicit cocaine seized within United States borders. Percentages are somewhat lower in Europe. In 2009, controlled in vivo studies demonstrated that horses metabolize levamisole to aminorex. Earlier this year our laboratory demonstrated that the same conversion occurs in man. Levamisole itself causes aplastic anemia and numerous reports have begun to appear in the literature, but the conversion of levamisole to aminorex is of much more concern. Aminorex ingestion was responsible for a five-year epidemic (1967-1972) of idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (IPH) confined to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, the only countries where aminorex had been marketed as an anorectic. The incidence of IPH reverted to normal levels as soon as aminorex was withdrawn. In most cases onset of symptoms in IPH began after six to nine months of aminorex use, with average dosage ranges of 10 to 40 mg per day. The outcome was almost uniformly fatal. The conversion rate of levamisole to aminorex has not been established, but given the high daily intake of cocaine by many abusers, it seems likely that many of them will have ingested enough contaminated cocaine to ultimately cause IPH. Until the disease is well established, the symptoms of IHP are vague, and existing drug registries specifically exclude drug abusers, making it difficult to track these cases. This review is intended to draw attention to what may be a slowly emerging new epidemic.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Khajeamiri AR; Faizi M; Sohani F; Baheri T; Kobarfard F. Determination of impurities in illicit methamphetamine samples seized in Iran. Forensic Science International 217(1-3): 204-206, 2012. (21 refs.)

In this study fifty samples of crystalline methamphetamine obtained from antinarcotics police of Iran seized during the year 2010 were analyzed. In order to determine the chemical characteristics of these samples, anion test, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) were carried out on the samples. All of the samples containing methamphetamine tested positive for chloride anion. The range of methamphetamine hydrochloride content in these samples was 33-95%. One sample out of 50 contained no methamphetamine. The fact that 1,2-dimethyl-3-phenylaziridine was the most frequently found impurity in the analyzed samples, indicates that most of the methamphetamine samples seized in Iran have been synthesized from pseudoephedrine as starting material.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Khajeamiri AR; Kobarfard F; Ahmadkhaniha R; Mostashari G. Profiling of ecstasy tablets seized in Iran. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 10(2): 211-220, 2011. (9 refs.)

In this study 50 samples of ecstasy tablets seized in Iran during the period of 2007 through 2008 were examined and their physical characteristics (appearance, marking, scored/not scored, color, weight, diameter, thickness) were determined. In order to determine the chemical characteristics of these tablets, color tests (Marquis test, Simon's test, Chen's test and Gallic acid test), Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), anion test, residual solvents, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) were carried out on the tablets. The range of tablets weight was 96-308 mg and the range of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) hydrochloride content in these tablets was 60180 mg. No good correlation was found between the tablets weight and their MDMA contents. All of the tablets containing MDMA had this compound in hydrochloride form. Ketamine, phenmetrazine and ephedrine (or pseudoephedrine) were found in some of the tablets along with MDMA. No MDMA was found in 10% of the tablets. Some of these tablets contained compounds such as caffeine or tramadol as their active ingredient.

Copyright 2011, Shaheed Beheshti University


Killias M; Isenring GL; Gillieron G; Vuille J. Do drug policies affect cannabis markets? A natural experiment in Switzerland, 2000-10. European Journal of Criminology 8(3): 171- 186, 2011. (24 refs.)

Scholars and policymakers have long debated whether drug policies have any impact on demand for, supply of and prices for illegal substances. Switzerland's recent experience with changing policies offers an opportunity to study this issue. During the 1990s, the production and sale of this substance became increasingly tolerated. As a result, visible market structures (producers as well as shops) emerged. In 2004, however, traditional repressive policies were resumed and visible structures of production and distribution of cannabis disappeared again. During these critical years, market structures were monitored by a mail survey among cannabis shops and two 'fake client' studies. The results suggest that the policy shift led to decreased availability of the substance, higher prices and lower levels of cannabis use, particularly among the youngest age groups. Despite the illegal status of cannabis, other substances are still not available from the same dealers.

Copyright 2011, Sage Publications


Kleiman MAR; Heussler L. Crime-minimizing drug policy. Journal of Criminal Justice 39(3, special issue): 286-288, 2011. (12 refs.)

Objective: To identify changes in drug abuse control measures that would reduce non-drug crime. Method: Policy analysis. Results: Expanding current anti-drug efforts in the conventional triad of enforcement, prevention, and treatment (including drug courts) holds out little hope of reducing non-drug crime. Routine drug law enforcement risks increasing crime by raising drug prices and creating incentives for violence among dealers. Low-arrest crackdowns to break up flagrant markets promise better results. Even good prevention programs have modest effect sizes, and most prevention programs are not based on proven models. The overlap between the population. of heavy illicit drug users and the population of frequent non-drug offenders presents a problem and a policy opportunity that current programs largely fail to grasp. Drug treatment, except for opiate substitution, has difficulty recruiting and retaining clients, and weak sanctions systems render treatment mandates largely nominal. Abstinence-mandate programs such as HOPE and Sobriety 24/7 have shown superior results in reducing re-offending and incarceration. Raising alcohol taxes reduces heavy alcohol use and crime due to intoxication without generating any offsetting criminogenic effects. Conclusion: Current drug policies are not optimally designed for the control of non-drug crime. Improvements are within relatively easy reach.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Klein CA; Kandel S. www.mydrugdealer.com: Ethics and legal implications of internet-based access to substances of abuse. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 39(3): 407-411, 2011. (20 refs.)

The Internet has increasingly become an intrinsic part of everyday life, offering countless possibilities for education, services, recreation, and more. In fact, an entire virtual life within the digitalized World Wide Web is possible and common among many Internet users. Today's psychiatrists must therefore incorporate this dimension of human life into clinical practice, to achieve an adequate assessment of the tools and risks available to the patient. We focus on the Internet as a portal for the trade of and access to substances of abuse. We review the legal regulations that may inform care and standards of practice and analyze the difficulties that arise in assessment and monitoring of the current situation. We consider the potential impact of Internet-based narcotics trade on addiction morbidities and the practice of clinical psychiatry, as well as on the potential legal implications that the forensic expert may face.

Copyright 2011, American Academy of Psychiatry & Law


Kneisel S; Bisel P; Brecht V; Broecker S; Muller M; Auwarter V. Identification of the cannabimimetic AM-1220 and its azepane isomer (N-methylazepan-3-yl)-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole in a research chemical and several herbal mixtures. Forensic Toxicology 30(2): 126-134, 2012. (22 refs.)

Recently, a large number of synthetic cannabinoids have been identified in herbal mixtures. Moreover, an even higher number of cannabimimetic compounds are currently distributed as research chemicals on a gram to kilogram scale via several online trading platforms. As this situation leads to a large number of new cannabimimetics and the occurrence of isobaric substances, the analysis of such compounds using mass spectroscopy (MS) involves the risk of incorrect assignments of mass spectra. In certain cases, this leads to considerable analytical challenges. In the majority of cases, these challenges can only be mastered by combining multiple analytical techniques. We purchased a so-called research chemical advertised as the cannabimimetic compound [(N-methylpiperidin-2-yl)methyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (AM-1220) via an Internet platform. Analysis of the microcrystalline substance using gas chromatography (GC)-MS indicated the presence of pure AM-1220. However, after further purity testing utilizing thin-layer chromatography we were surprised to see an additional spot indicating a mixture of two substances with highly similar physicochemical properties. After isolation, high-resolution mass spectroscopy (HR-MS) revealed an elemental composition of C26H26N2O for both substances, proving the presence of two isobaric substances. Moreover, GC-MS and LC-HR-MS/MS experiments indicated two naphthoylindoles featuring different heterocyclic substituents at the indole nitrogen. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy verified the presence of the highly potent cannabimimetic AM-1220 and its azepane isomer. Interestingly, only a few weeks after purchasing the powder we also detected both substances in a similar proportion in several herbal mixtures for the first time.

Copyright 2012, Springer


Lee C; White HR. Effects of childhood maltreatment on violent injuries and premature death during young adulthood among urban high-risk men. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 166(9): 814-820, 2012. (51 refs.)

Objectives: To assess childhood maltreatment as a risk factor for violent injuries and premature death in young adulthood and whether these associations are mediated by adolescent heavy drinking, hard drug use, hard drug selling, and violent offending. Design: Prospective longitudinal study of boys followed from childhood into young adulthood. Setting: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Participants: A total of 1009 men from the Pittsburgh Youth Study. Main Exposure: Childhood maltreatment. Main Outcome Measures: Premature deaths between ages 18 and 38 years from the Social Security Death Index and self-reports of violent injuries inflicted by gunshot or knife between ages 18 and 28 years. Results: Young men who experienced childhood maltreatment, compared with their counterparts who did not experience it, had a greater risk of violent injuries (relative risk = 1.61; 95% CI, 1.10-2.35) and death ( hazard ratio = 2.85; 95% CI, 1.37-5.93) during young adulthood. Adolescent violent offending and hard drug selling explained the association between childhood maltreatment and violent injuries, and violent offending partially accounted for the association between childhood maltreatment and premature death. Although adolescent violent offending predicted both outcomes, maltreated boys still had an increased risk of premature death ( hazard ratio = 2.54; 95% CI, 1.21-5.34) after accounting for their adolescent violence. Conclusions: Childhood maltreatment significantly predicts premature death and violent injuries during young adulthood. These associations are partially explained by adolescent involvement in violence and drug dealing. Targeted interventions for maltreated boys to reduce their involvement in adolescent deviant behaviors may help decrease their risks for later serious injuries and premature death.

Copyright 2012, American Medical Association


Lin EY; Witten K; Casswell S; You RQ. Neighbourhood matters: Perceptions of neighbourhood cohesiveness and associations with alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use. Drug and Alcohol Review 31(4): 402-412, 2012. (50 refs.)

Introduction and Aims. To examine relationships between perceived neighbourhood cohesion and alcohol, tobacco and cannabis consumption in New Zealand. Design and Methods. A two-level random intercept regression model was used to examine the extent to which perception of neighbourhood cohesion (at the individual and area level) was associated with the frequency of substance (alcohol, tobacco and cannabis) consumption, after controlling for demographics and deprivation. This study is based on data from two national Health Behaviours Surveys (Drugs and Alcohol) conducted in 2003 and 2004 in New Zealand. Data were collected by computer-assisted telephone interviewing with two complementary computer-assisted cellphone interviewing samples. The combined sample consists of 6346 men and 8411 women (n = 14 757) distributed across 1572 census area units. Results. Perception of neighbourhood cohesion was significantly associated with the level of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis consumption. Individuals who perceived their neighbourhood as more cohesive had higher annual frequency of alcohol consumption but lower consumption on a typical drinking occasion. Higher perceived neighbourhood cohesion was also associated with a decrease in the probability of tobacco and cannabis use and of the amounts consumed. Area-level analysis suggested that aggregate census area unit-level neighbourhood cohesion exerted a significant additional contextual effect on the frequency of tobacco and cannabis consumption over and above individual perceptions of neighbourhood cohesiveness. Discussion and Conclusions. This study provides empirical evidence that perceptions of the neighbourhood social environment are associated with people's substance consumption patterns. Increasing residents' sense of neighbourhood cohesion might prove a promising way to decrease health-damaging consumption behaviours.

Copyright 2012, Wiley-Blackwell


Liu S-h. Passage to Manhood: Youth Migration, Heroin, and AIDS in Southwest China. Palo Alto CA: Stanford University Press, 2011

This book based on the author's field work describes the circumstances of Nuosu youth of a rural, poor farming community in southwest China. This community was defined by the post-revolutionary Chinese governmental as a "minority" community. Historically, the Nuosu had very limited contact with the Han, the majority population in China. Since the late 1980s, young Nuosu men became engaged in a circular migratory pattern, generally spending between two and four months at a time in Chinese cities attempting to make money before returning home. Often lacking fluency in Mandarin, educational opportunities and social networks in the urban centers, many young migrant Nuosu workers supplement unsteady day labor jobs with participation in theft and other illicit activities. Before long, not only the young men who travelled to the cities, but also their families at home became involved in the consumption and distribution of heroin. The heroin trade appears to have been one of the few sectors of the rural economy that improved the material quality of life in Limu during the Reform era. With the rise in heroin use, HIV and AIDS also became a growing problem in these communities. The author describes the toll on individuals, families and community relationships. Beyond the stigma arising from the minority status, the further stigma of HIV/AIDS was introduced in the process of governmental efforts at public health education. An unfortunate result was the fraying of kinship relationships which had provided a supportive network for AIDS patients. The author traces several themes, the impetus of youth to migrate as a means of improving their life circumstances; the fraying of community life, the inability of this minority population to reap the benefits accruing to the broader population. Due to high mortality rates, the numbers of heroin users has declined. Youth however have turned to newer drugs, namely ecstasy and methamphetamine.

Copyright 2011, Project Cork


Lung DD; Gerona RR; Wu AHB; Smollin CG. Confirmed glyburide poisoning from ingestion of "street valium". Journal of Emergency Medicine 43(2): 276-278, 2012. (14 refs.)

Background: Pharmaceuticals with little to no abuse potential are often sold surreptitiously as drugs of abuse on the street. Anecdotally, sulfonylureas are suspected to be commonly sold as "street Valium." Case Reports: Two patients presented with altered mental status and persistent hypoglycemia requiring continuous intravenous dextrose, in the context of suspected attempted benzodiazepine abuse. Supratherapeutic glyburide levels of 1198 and 647 ng/mL were measured in these patients. Conclusions: These are two cases of glyburide poisonings from ingestion of "street Valium" that have been confirmed by laboratory testing.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Macias MS; Furton KG. Availability of target odor compounds from seized ecstasy tablets for canine detection. Journal of Forensic Sciences 56(6): 1594-1600, 2011. (14 refs.)

The aim of this study was to compare seized samples of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) pills, used to train law enforcement detection canine teams, to determine what differences exist in the chemical makeup and headspace odor and their effect on detectability. MDMA solutions were analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Analysis of these samples showed a wide variance of MDMA (8-25%). Headspace SPME-GC/MS analysis showed that several compounds such as 3,4-methylenedioxyphenylacetone and 1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-propanol are common among these MDMA samples regardless of starting compound and synthesis procedure. However, differences, such as the level of the various methylenedioxy starting compounds, were shown to affect the overall outcome of canine detection, indicating the need for more than one MDMA training aid. Combinations of compounds such as the primary odor piperonal in conjunction with a secondary compound such as MDP-2-OH or isosafrole are recommended to maximize detection of different illicit MDMA samples.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


McBride DC; Terry-McElrath YM; Chriqui JF; O'Connor JC; VanderWaal CJ et al. State methamphetamine precursor policies and changes in small toxic lab methamphetamine production. Journal of Drug Issues 41(2): 253-281, 2011. (35 refs.)

Domestic production of methamphetamine in small toxic labs (STLs) results in significant community safety and health consequences. This paper examines the effects of state-level policies implemented in the middle of the last decade in reaction to a rapid increase in STL labs. These policies focused on controlling access to the methamphetamine precursor chemicals ephedrine and pseudoephedrine and the relationship of such policies with actual STL seizure rates. Data include (a) primary legal research on state laws/regulations in all 50 states in effect as of October 1, 2005; and (b) STL seizure counts for 2004-2006. Results from random effects cross-sectional time-series regression models showed that states with the greatest reduction in STL seizures had comprehensive policies involving quantity limits on methamphetamine precursor purchases, clerk intervention requirements (such as requiring buyer identification) and regulatory agency specification for monitoring compliance and tracking multiple purchases. Criminalizing purchasing violations was not related to STL reductions.

Copyright 2011, Florida State University


McDermott SD; Power JD; Kavanagh P; O'Brien J. The analysis of substituted cathinones. Part 2: An investigation into the phenylacetone based isomers of 4-methylmethcathinone and N-ethylcathinone. Forensic Science International 212(1-3): 13-21, 2011. (10 refs.)

During the analysis of "seized samples'', suspected of containing 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone) and N-ethylcathinone (ethcathinone) additional compounds were observed in the GCMS chromatogram. These compounds were suspected to be the corresponding phenylacetone isomers of mephedrone and ethcathinone respectively. These isomers are referred to as iso-mephedrone and iso-ethcathinone, respectively. The identity of these compounds was verified by synthesising the isomers from known starting materials and comparing them with the compounds found in the seized samples. Analytical data, GCMS, NMR and IR on these compounds are provided. Possible explanations for the presence of these compounds in the seized samples are explored. Contaminated starting material is one suggestion. Rearrangement of the propiophenone based product to the phenylacetone based product is also suggested. The reaction of the alpha-bromopropiophenone with a primary amine can also lead to the phenylacetone based product. The presence of these isomeric compounds in seized samples could be used to compare different samples and attempt to establish a common origin.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


McElrath K; O'Neill C. Experiences with mephedrone pre- and post-legislative controls: Perceptions of safety and sources of supply. International Journal of Drug Policy 22(2): 120- 127, 2011. (32 refs.)

Background: Drug scenes within several countries have changed in recent years to incorporate a range of licit psychoactive products, collectively known as "legal highs." Hundreds of different legal high products have been described in the literature. Many of these products contain synthetic stimulants that allegedly "mirror" the effects of some illicit drugs. In 2009-2010, growing concern by the UK and Irish governments focused on mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant that had become embedded within several drug scenes in Britain and Ireland. In April 2010, mephedrone and related cathinone derivatives were banned under the UK's Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Setting aside "worse case scenarios" that have been portrayed by UK and Irish media, little is known about mephedrone use from the consumer's perspective. The purpose of this paper was to (1) explore respondents' experiences with mephedrone, (2) examine users' perceptions about the safety of mephedrone, and primarily to (3) examine sources of mephedrone supply during the pre- and post-ban periods. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 adults who had used mephedrone during 2009-2010. Data collection occurred in May and June 2010, following the ban on mephedrone. A total of 20/23 respondents had used mephedrone during the post-ban period, and the vast majority had prior experience with ecstasy or cocaine. Respondents' ages ranged from 19 to 51, approximately half of the sample were female and the majority (19 of 23) were employed in full- or part-time work. Results: Most respondents reported positive experiences with mephedrone, and for some, the substance emerged as a drug of choice. None of the respondents reported that the once-legal status of mephedrone implied that it was safe to use. Very few respondents reported purchasing mephedrone from street-based or on-line headshops during the pre-ban period, and these decisions were guided in part by respondents' attempts to avoid "drug user" identities. Most respondents purchased or obtained mephedrone from friends or dealers, and mephedrone was widely available during the 10-week period following the ban. Respondents reported a greater reliance on dealers and a change in mephedrone packaging following the criminalisation of mephedrone. Conclusion: The findings are discussed in the context of what appears to be a rapidly changing mephedrone market. We discuss the possible implications of criminalising mephedrone, including the potential displacement effects and the development of an illicit market.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


McElrath K; Van Hout MC. A preference for mephedrone: Drug markets, drugs of choice, and the emerging "legal high" scene. Journal of Drug Issues 41(4): 487-507, 2011. (35 refs.)

This study focuses on individuals' preferences for mephedrone, a new psychoactive substance that has emerged in several countries. We examine the reasons for mephedrone preferences, and describe the positive and negative effects of the drug experience, route of administration and consumers' views about the legality of mephedrone. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 45 adults who had used mephedrone since January 2010. Respondents resided in one of two jurisdictions that were characterized by different legislative controls over mephedrone. The findings suggest the importance of macro-level drug market factors that shaped people's preferences for mephedrone. Additionally, respondents' preferences were guided by pharmacological properties that helped them conceal the effects of mephedrone in public and semi-public spaces. Respondents were not deterred by the (impending) change from legal to illicit drug. The findings have implications for the study of localized drug markets, and in particular, legislative controls over emerging legal highs.

Copyright 2011, Florida State University


McGrath MM; Isakova T; Rennke HG; Mottoa AM; Laliberte KA; Niles JL. Contaminated cocaine and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated disease. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 6(12): 2799-2805, 2011. (47 refs.)

Background and objectives: Approximately 70% of illicit cocaine consumed in the United States is contaminated with levamisole. Most commonly used as a veterinary antihelminthic agent, levamisole is a known immunomodulating agent. Prolonged use in humans has been associated with cutaneous vasculitis and agranulocytosis. We describe the development of a systemic autoimmune disease associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in cocaine users. This complication appears to be linked to combined cocaine and levamisole exposure. Design, setting, participants, & measurements Cases were identified between March 2009 and November 2010 at Massachusetts General Hospital's ANCA laboratory. Cocaine exposure was identified from patient history in all cases. Medical records were reviewed for clinical presentation and for laboratory and diagnostic evaluation. Results: Thirty cases of ANCA positivity associated with cocaine ingestion were identified. All had antimyeloperoxidase antibodies and 50% also had antiproteinase 3 antibodies. Complete clinical and laboratory data were available for 18 patients. Arthralgia (83%) and skin lesions (61%) were the most frequent complaints at presentation. Seventy-two percent of patients reported constitutional symptoms, including fever, night sweats, weight loss, or malaise. Four patients had biopsy-proven vasculitis. Two cases of acute kidney injury and three cases of pulmonary hemorrhage occurred. From the entire cohort of 30, two cases were identified during the first 3 months of our study period and nine cases presented during the last 3 months. Conclusions: We describe an association between the ingestion of levamisole-contaminated cocaine and ANCA-associated systemic autoimmune disease. Our data suggest that this is a potentially life-threatening complication of cocaine use.

Copyright 2011, American Society of Nephrology


McKetin R; Sutherland R; Bright DA; Norberg MM. A systematic review of methamphetamine precursor regulations. (review). Addiction 106(11): 1911-1924, 2011. (41 refs.)

Aims To assess the effectiveness of methamphetamine precursor regulations in reducing illicit methamphetamine supply and use. Methods A systematic review of 12 databases was used to identify studies that had evaluated the impact of methamphetamine precursor regulations on methamphetamine supply and/or use. The guidelines of the Effective Practice and Organization of Care Group (EPOC) of The Cochrane Collaboration were used to determine which study designs were included and assess their quality. Results Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. These studies evaluated 15 interventions (13 regulations and two related interdiction efforts), all of which were located in North America. Interventions had consistent impacts across various indicators of methamphetamine supply and use. Seven of the 15 interventions produced reductions in methamphetamine indicators (ranging from 12% to 77%). Two of the largest impacts were seen following interdiction efforts, involving the closure of rogue pharmaceutical companies. There was no evidence of a shift into other types of drug use, or injecting use, although the impact on the synthetic drug market was not examined. Null effects were related largely to the existence of alternative sources of precursor chemicals or the availability of imported methamphetamine. Conclusions: Methamphetamine precursor regulations can reduce indicators of methamphetamine supply and use. Further research is needed to determine whether regulations can be effective outside North America, particularly in developing countries, and what impact they have on the broader synthetic drug market. Improved data on precursor diversion are needed to facilitate the evaluation of precursor regulations.

Copyright 2011, Society for the Study of Addiction


Nakajima J; Takahashi M; Seto T; Yoshida M; Kanai C; Suzuki J et al. Identification and quantitation of two new naphthoylindole drugs-of-abuse, (1-(5-hydroxypentyl)-1H-indol-3-yl)(naphthalen-1-yl)methanone (AM-2202) and (1-(4-pentenyl)-1H-indol-3-yl)(naphthalen-1-yl)methanone, with other synthetic cannabinoids in unregulated "herbal" products circulated in the Tokyo area. Forensic Toxicology 30(1): 33-44, 2012. (17 refs.)

During our continual surveillance of unregulated drugs in May-June 2011, we found two new compounds as adulterants in herbal products obtained at shops in the Tokyo area. These compounds were identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, accurate mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The first compound identified was a naphthoylindole (1-(5-hydroxypentyl)-1H-indol-3-yl)(naphthalen-1-yl)methanone (AM-2202, 1), which is a side-chain hydroxyl analogue of JWH-018. The second compound was (1-(4-pentenyl)-1H-indol-3-yl)(naphthalen-1-yl)methanone (2), which is side-chain double bond analogue of JWH-018. This is the first report to identify 1 and 2 in a commercial "herbal" product to our knowledge. For quantitation of the above compounds 1 and 2, and chemical analysis for previously reported compounds (AM-2201, 3; JWH-203, 4; JWH-019, 7; JWH-210, 8; mitragynine, 9), each product was extracted with methanol under ultrasonication to prepare solutions for analysis by liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. For the sake of identifying JWH-203 (4) and its positional isomers [JWH-203-3-chloroisomer (5) and 4-chloroisomer (6)] correctly, simultaneous liquid chromatography analysis on fluorocarbon-bonded silica gel column was performed. And a case report of commercially available products containing synthetic cannabinoids 7 and 8, and a natural occurring alkaloid 9, was also shown. Each of 6 commercially circulated products contained compounds 1-4 and 7-9; the amounts of the compounds ranged from 4.1 to 222 mg per pack.

Copyright 2012, Springer


Nomura Y; Hurd YL; Pilowsky DJ. Life-time risk for substance use among offspring of abusive family environment from the community. Substance Use & Misuse 47(12): 1281-1292, 2012. (51 refs.)

The current study examined the cumulative risk, age of initiation, and functional impairments among adults with substance use problems (N = 1748) by child abuse status. Child abuse was associated with earlier initiation of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin use, and had greater risks for all the drugs studied (hazard ratios, 1.7-3.2). Furthermore, child abuse was associated with increased medical and functional impairments, including ER visits, health problems, drug dealing, drug dependence, and drug cravings. Provision of social services and parenting education during the perinatal period may prevent the long-term impact of child abuse on substance use and related impairments. The study's limitations are noted.

Copyright 2012, Informa Healthcare


O'Neill TB; Rawlins JM; Rea S; Wood FM. Methamphetamine laboratory-related burns in Western Australia: Why the explosion? Burns 37(6): 1044-1048, 2011. (19 refs.)

Introduction: With increasing numbers of illicit drug users in both urban and rural communities, users and producers are becoming increasingly enterprising in their sourcing of mind altering drugs. An example of this is the 'amateur' production of methamphetamine in domestic dwellings. We describe the mechanism of burn seen in methamphetamine production, the pattern of clinical injury, and the difficulties in treating these patients. Methods: A 12 month retrospective study of five patient groups presenting to our burn service with injuries following methamphetamine laboratory explosion. Results: Out of five patient groups we have treated 9 individual patients (with one patient presenting on two different occasions) with burns following methamphetamine laboratory explosion. All patients were male and required hospital admission. The cause of the explosive injury was initially reported as barbeque or oven related, :assault, or accident in all patients. Two patients (in separate events) required intubation for associated inhalation injury. Burn size varied from 1% to 40% BSA. 7 patients required surgical debridement and skin grafting. Injury type was thermal and chemical. All patients had difficult follow-up due to low levels of clinic attendance. Conclusion: Methamphetamine laboratory explosion burns are difficult injuries from the start. Invariably the true circumstances surrounding the injury are not clear, and clinicians should be suspicious of a meth lab explosion in suspect individuals with burns plus airway injury. Patient management is complex and often requires substantial analgesic and anxiolytic medication in conjunction with clinical psychology and psychiatry as an inpatient.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Paoli L; Greenfield VA; Reuter P. Change is possible: The history of the international drug control regime and implications for future policymaking. Substance Use & Misuse 47(8): 923-935, 2012. (56 refs.)

The article, based upon an extensive literature review, reconstructs and analyzes the parallel evolution of the international drug control regime and the world opiate market, assessing the impact of the former on the latter until the rise of present-day mass markets. It shows that, since its inception, the regime has focused almost entirely on matters of supply. However, that focus has not always meant "prohibition"; until 1961, the key principle of the regime was "regulation." Given the different forms drug control policy has taken in the past, the authors conclude it may be amenable to new forms in the future.

Copyright 2012, Informa Healthcare


Pavananunt P. illicit cigarette trade in Thailand. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 42(6): 1531-1539, 2011. (15 refs.)

The sale and consumption of illicit tobacco increases consumption, impacts public health, reduces tax revenue and provides an argument against tax increases. Thailand has some of the best tobacco control policies in Southeast Asia with one of the highest tobacco tax rates, but illicit trade has the potential to undermine these policies and needs investigating. Two approaches were used to assess illicit trade between 1991 and 2006: method 1, comparison of tobacco used based on tobacco taxes paid and survey data, and method 2, discrepancies between export data from countries exporting tobacco to Thailand and Thai official data regarding imports. A three year average was used to smooth differences due to lags between exports and imports. For 1991-2006, the estimated manufactured cigarette consumption from survey data was considerably lower than sales tax paid, so method 1 did not provide evidence of cigarette tax avoidance. Using method 2 the trade difference between reported imports and exports, indicates 10% of cigarettes consumed in Thailand (242 million packs per year) between 2004 and 2006 were illicit. The loss of revenue amounted to 4,508 million Baht (2002 prices) in the same year, that was 14% of the total cigarette tax revenue. Cigarette excise tax rates had a negative relationship with consumption trends but no relation with the level of illicit trade. There is a need for improved policies against smuggling to combat the rise in illicit tobacco consumption. Regional coordination and implementation of protocols on illicit trade would help reduce incentives for illegal tax avoidance.

Copyright 2011, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization


Pennar AL; Shapiro AF; Krysik J. Drug endangered children: Examining children removed from methamphetamine laboratories. Children and Youth Services Review 34(9): 1777-1785, 2012. (48 refs.)

Children removed from methamphetamine laboratories are a severely understudied population despite the widespread deprivation parental methamphetamine abuse has on children, particularly in homes where methamphetamine is produced. A sample of 144 children removed from their homes during the seizure of methamphetamine laboratories, as part of the Arizona Drug Endangered Children program, was investigated. Results indicate that younger children were more likely to be determined by Child Protective Services as high or moderate risk of further abuse, test positive for methamphetamine, and have maternal alleged perpetrators of abuse. Older children were more likely to be designated low risk for further abuse, test negative for methamphetamine, and have paternal alleged perpetrators of abuse. Results also show that children initially placed in foster care were more likely to remain in foster care at the final assessment than to be living with a parent or kin. These findings have implications for individuals working with children removed from homes with methamphetamine laboratories, and recommendations based on study findings are offered to child and family advocates and interventionists.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Perron BE; Ahmedani BK; Vaughn MG; Glass JE; Abdon A; Wu LT. Use of salvia divinorum in a nationally representative sample. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 38(1): 108-113, 2012. (20 refs.)

Background: Salvia divinorum has known hallucinogenic effects and is legal in most parts of the United States. Given that this psychoactive substance has a potential of misuse and abuse, further data regarding the clinical and psychosocial factors associated with use are needed. Objectives: To examine the clinical and psychosocial characteristics associated with use of salvia. Methods: The study uses data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2008 (N = 55,623). Results: The results of this study suggest that salvia use is most common among young adults aged 18-25 years as well as individuals who had engaged in risk-taking behaviors (selling illicit drugs, stealing) or illicit drug use (especially other hallucinogens/ecstasy). Self-reported depression and anxiety were also associated with salvia use. Conclusions/Scientific Significance: The results provide evidence that salvia use is part of a broader constellation of psychosocial and behavioral problems among youth and young adults. The accessibility, legal status, and psychoactive effects of salvia can be a potentially complicating health risk to young people, especially among those with existing substance use problems.

Copyright 2012, Informa HealthCare


Piazza JA. The illicit drug trade, counternarcotics strategies and terrorism. Public Choice 149(3-4, special issue): 297-314, 2011. (81 refs.)

Conventional wisdom indicates that international trade in illicit drugs helps to fuel terrorism. Since 2001, counter-narcotics policy increasingly has been used to fight terrorism. This study investigates empirically the relationship between the drug trade and terrorism and examines whether or not interdiction and eradication efforts reduce domestic and transnational terrorist activity. The study finds that illicit drug production and opiate and cocaine wholesale prices are significant positive predictors of transnational and domestic terrorist attacks, while drug crop eradication and drug interdiction are significant negative predictors of terrorism. The study concludes with the policy implications of the findings.

Copyright 2011, Springer


Price EP; Seymour ML; Sarovich DS; Latham J; Wolken SR; Mason J et al. Molecular epidemiologic investigation of an anthrax outbreak among heroin users, Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases 18(8): 1307-1313, 2012. (39 refs.)

In December 2009, two unusual cases of anthrax were diagnosed in heroin users in Scotland. A subsequent anthrax outbreak in heroin users emerged throughout Scotland and expanded into England and Germany, sparking concern of nefarious introduction of anthrax spores into the heroin supply. To better understand the outbreak origin, we used established genetic signatures that provided insights about strain origin. Next, we sequenced the whole genome of a representative Bacillus anthracis strain from a heroin user (Ba4599), developed Ba4599-specific single-nucleotide polymorphism assays, and genotyped all available material from other heroin users with anthrax. Of 34 case-patients with B. anthracis positive PCR results, all shared the Ba4599 single-nucleotide polymorphism genotype. Phylogeographic analysis demonstrated that Ba4599 was closely related to strains from Turkey and not to previously identified isolates from Scotland or Afghanistan, the presumed origin of the heroin. Our results suggest accidental contamination along the drug trafficking route through a cutting agent or animal hides used to smuggle heroin into Europe.

Copyright 2012, Centers for Disease Control


Rhodes T; Bivol S. "Back then" and "nowadays": Social transition narratives in accounts of injecting drug use in an East European setting. Social Science & Medicine 74(3): 425-433, 2012. (64 refs.)

Whereas most research investigating drug use transitions narrows its analyses around the individual and their decision-making, we explore how personal narratives of drug transition interplay with broader narratives of social and economic change in a 'transition society' of post-Soviet Europe. Informed by narrative theory, we draw upon analyses of 42 audio-recorded qualitative interviews conducted in the city of Bald, Moldova, in late 2009, with people with current and recent experience of injecting drug use. Accounts of drug transition connect with stories of shifting socio-economic conditions, drug markets, drug law enforcement practices, and social relationships across generations. Participants cast themselves as the 'transition generation', juxtaposing 'their' time of drug initiation "back then" with "nowadays". We find that personal stories of drug initiation, transition and career are told in relation to a meta-narrative of social transition. Whereas 'back then', drug use was depicted as 'natural', 'home-produced', embedded in social relations, and symbolically valuable, in the post-transition narrative of 'now', this culture of drug use has become disrupted, through the internationalisation of drug markets, the individualisation of social relations, the weakening of social ties and trust relations, flux in moral boundaries, and shifting social values of drug use. The meta-narrative of social transition serves to bridge biographical adaptation as collective experience. This helps to moderate the social harms linked to the 'becoming other' constituted by drug injecting, and bridge the effects of rationed expectation that can characterise post-Soviet transitions. We suggest that the narrative of

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Rigg KK; Kurtz SP; Surratt HL. Patterns of prescription medication diversion among drug dealers. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 19(2): 145-155, 2012. (41 refs.)

This research examined the following questions: (1) how do drug dealers acquire their inventories of prescription medications? and (2) which types of prescription medications do dealers most commonly sell? Data are drawn from a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research study that examined prescription drug diversion and abuse in South Florida. In-depth semi-structured interviews (n = 50) were conducted with an ethnically diverse sample of prescription drug dealers from a variety of milieus to assess patterns of diversion. Audiotapes of the interviews were transcribed, coded, and thematically analysed using the NVivo 8 software program. Dealers relied on a wide array of diversion methods including visiting multiple pain clinics, working with pharmacy employees to steal medications from pharmacies, and purchasing medications from indigent patients. The type of medication most commonly sold by dealers was prescription opioid analgesics, and to a lesser extent benzodiazepines such as alprazolam. These findings inform public health policy makers, criminal justice officials, the pharmaceutical industry and government regulatory agencies in their efforts to reduce the availability of diverted prescription drugs in the illicit market. Specifically, these data support the need for state-wide prescription drug monitoring programs and increased training for healthcare workers who have access to controlled medications.

Copyright 2012, Informa Healthcare


Roddy J; Steinmiller CL; Greenwald MK. Heroin purchasing is income and price sensitive. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 25(2): 358-364, 2011. (31 refs.)

Semi-structured interviews were used to assess behavioral economic drug demand in heroin dependent research volunteers. Findings on drug price, competing purchases, and past 30-day income and consumption, established in a previous study, are replicated. We extended these findings by having participants indicate whether hypothetical environmental changes would alter heroin purchasing. Participants (n = 109) reported they would significantly (p < .005) decrease heroin daily purchasing amounts (DPA) from past 30-day levels (M = $60/day) if: (a) they encountered a 33% decrease in income (DPA = $34), (b) family/friends no longer paid their living expenses (DPA = $32), or (c) they faced four-fold greater likelihood of police arrest at their purchasing location (DPA = $42). Participants in higher income quartiles (who purchase more heroin) show greater DPA reductions (but would still buy more heroin) than those in lower income quartiles. For participants receiving government aid (n = 31), heroin purchasing would decrease if those subsidies were eliminated (DPA = $28). Compared to participants whose urine tested negative for cocaine (n = 31), cocaine-positive subjects (n = 32) reported more efficient heroin purchasing, that is, they live closer to their primary dealer; are more likely to have heroin delivered or walk to obtain it (and less likely to ride the bus), thus reducing purchasing time (52 vs. 31 min, respectively); and purchase more heroin per episode. These simulation results have treatment and policy implications: Daily heroin users' purchasing repertoire is very cost-effective, more so for those also using cocaine, and only potent environmental changes (income reductions or increased legal sanctions) may impact this behavior.

Copyright 2011, American Psychological Association


Rovner ES; Davidson R (translator). The Cuban Connection: Drug Trafficking, Smuggling, and Gambling in Cuba from the 1920s to the Revolution. Chapel Hill NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011

This book provides a history of crime and corruption in Cuba. It challenges the common view that widespread poverty and geographic proximity to the United States were the prime reasons for soaring rates of drug trafficking, smuggling, gambling, and prostitution in the tumultuous decades preceding the Cuban revolution. To the contrary, the author argues that Cuba's historically well-established integration into international migration, commerce, and transportation networks combined with political instability and rampant official corruption provided the foundation for the development of organized crime structures powerful enough to affect Cuba's domestic and foreign politics. The book traces the routes taken around the world by traffickers and smugglers. After Cuba, the most important player in this story is the United States. The involvement of gangsters and corrupt U.S. officials and businessmen enabled prohibited substances to reach a strong market in the United States, from rum running during Prohibition to increased demand for narcotics during the Cold War. Originally published in Colombia in 2005, this first English-language edition has been revised and updated by the author.

Copyright 2011, KITLV Press


Russoniello K. The devil (and drugs) in the details: Portugal's focus on public health as a model for decriminalization of drugs in Mexico. Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 12(Summer): 373-431, 2012. (323 legal refs.)

Summary: ... In 2001, Portugal decriminalized possession of all drugs for personal consumption and has since reported positive results in combating drug addiction, related health problems, and drug trafficking. ... Next, Part II will examine Mexican drug legislation before decriminalization and the violence, public health problems, and other social consequences associated with drug use and trafficking. ... This Part will address the different approaches to decriminalization in Portugal and Mexico and will ultimately argue that Mexico could achieve decreased rates of drug use and drug-related disease, a reduction in prison populations, and an increase in resources for enforcement against large-scale drug trafficking if Mexico were to adopt a model similar to the one in Portugal. ... Second, it encouraged the creation of specific harm reduction programs that directly targeted the health-related dangers of drug use, such as shelters for homeless drug users and needle exchanges all over the country. ... This separation is likely to encourage users to seek treatment voluntarily; reduce the burden of drug use cases on the courts; decrease corruption, extortion, and human rights abuses; and refocus law enforcement efforts on large-scale drug trafficking. ... An advantage of the Portuguese system is that experts in the field of drug addiction, and not judges with limited knowledge in this field, determine whether a drug possession offense has occurred and whether the offender is addicted. ... Assuming that arrest power for drug possession offenses has been removed, police officers will not be able to target users and addicts who possess amounts below the maximum - removing or limiting their ability to threaten offenders with incarceration if they fail to produce a bribe. ... Additionally, changes to the Mexican law could still increase penalties for traffickers, reinforcing the objective of identifying and dismantling drug-trafficking organizations while providing more resources for drug users. ... In order to fully effectuate its strategy, Portugal increased overall funding for drug policy implementation, increased the number of public treatment and harm reduction facilities, and established CDTs in every region of the country

Copyright 2012, Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics


Schemenauer E. Victims and vamps, madonnas and whores the construction of female drug couriers and the practices of the US security state. International Feminist Journal of Politics 14(1): 83-102, 2012. (50 refs.)

This article explores how the US 'war on drugs' depends on certain notions of femininity and womanhood. In particular, I examine how female drug couriers from the Americas are constructed at US border sites of international airports in the 1990s. I find that female drug couriers are described in terms of victims and vamps - a take off of the madonna/whore dichotomy. The victim and vamp discourses, I argue, are the performative enactments of a security state that operates according to a racialized logic of masculinist protection. I hold in tension the circulation of the victim/vamp discourses with the story of Paula, a Colombian woman who was caught trafficking heroin in hidden compartments of her suitcase. I use Paula's story to call attention to the political work in dismissing women as agents in the international drug trade.

Copyright 2012, Taylor & Francis Ltd


Schneider S; Meys F. Analysis of illicit cocaine and heroin samples seized in Luxembourg from 2005-2010. Forensic Science International 212(1-3): 242-246, 2011. (21 refs.)

This article discusses drug purity, frequency of appearance and concentration ranges of adulterants of 471 illicit cocaine and 962 illicit heroin samples seized in Luxembourg from January 2005 to December 2010. For cocaine samples the mean concentration was lowest in 2009 (43.2%) and highest in 2005 (54.7%) but no clear trend could be observed during the last 6 years. 14 different adulterants have been detected in cocaine samples, from which phenacetin has been the most abundant in terms of frequency of appearance and concentration until 2009. In 2010 the veterinary antihelminthic drug levamisole has become the most abundant adulterant detected in cocaine samples, its concentrations however remained low (1.5-4.1%). The mean heroin concentration was 26.6% in 2005, a decline has been observed in 2006 and the concentrations have been relatively stable since then (15.8-17.4%). Paracetamol and caffeine were by far the most abundant adulterants detected in heroin samples.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Schwartz RP; Kelly SM; O'Grady KE; Gandhi D; Jaffe JH. Interim methadone treatment compared to standard methadone treatment: 4-month findings. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 41(1): 21-29, 2011. (19 refs.)

Interim methadone (IM; with emergency counseling only) is an effective but highly restricted alternative to methadone treatment program (MTP) waiting lists. However, it is not known whether IM disadvantages patients as compared with standard methadone treatment (SM). In this clinical trial, conducted in two MTPs, 230 newly admitted patients were randomly assigned to IM, SM, and "restored" methadone treatment (SM with a counselor with a reduced caseload). Data were analyzed using generalized estimating equations and generalized linear modeling. There were no significant differences among conditions in days in treatment or of heroin or cocaine use and heroin- or cocaine-positive urine drug tests. The IM as compared to the SM group had significantly fewer self-reported days of criminal activity and lower amounts of money spent on drugs and illegal income. These findings suggest that when SM is unavailable, IM should be more widely used and less restricted.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Semple SJ; Strathdee SA; Volkmann T; Zians J; Patterson TL. "High on my own supply": Correlates of drug dealing among heterosexually identified methamphetamine users. American Journal on Addictions 20(6): 516-524, 2011. (50 refs.)

Although rates of methamphetamine use continue to increase throughout the United States, little is known about the individuals who sell methamphetamine at the street level. This exploratory study examined the prevalence and correlates of drug-dealing behavior in a sample of 404 heterosexually identified methamphetamine users who were participants in a sexual risk reduction intervention in San Diego, California. Twenty-nine percent of participants (N = 116) reported "dealing" methamphetamine in the past 2 months. In a multivariate logistic regression, methamphetamine dealing was associated with being male (OR = 1.99; 95% CI 1.16-3.39), younger age (OR = 1.87 per year; 95% CI 1.10-3.17), more frequent use of methamphetamine (OR = 2.69; 95% CI 1.59-4.57), injecting methamphetamine (OR = 3.10; 95% CI 1.79-5.37), and higher hostility scores (OR = 1.07 per unit increase; 95% CI 1.01-1.13). These characteristics, particularly intensity of drug use and hostility, may be associated with greater resistance to drug treatment and lower success in treatment programs.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Serrano KA; Martyny JW; Kofford S; Contreras JR; Van Dyke MV. Decontamination of clothing and building materials associated with the clandestine production of methamphetamine. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 9(3): 185-197, 2012. (26 refs.)

This study was designed to determine how easily methamphetamine can be removed from clothing and building materials, utilizing different cleaning materials and methods. The study also addressed the penetration of methamphetamine into drywall and the ability of paints to encapsulate the methamphetamine on drywall. Clothing and building materials were contaminated in a stainless steel chamber by aerosolizing methamphetamine in a beaker heater. The amount of methamphetamine surface contamination was determined by sampling a grid pattern on the material prior to attempting to clean the materials. After cleaning, the materials were again sampled, and the degree of decontamination noted. We found that household clothing and response gear worn by first responders was easily decontaminated using a household detergent in a household washing machine. A single wash removed over 95% of the methamphetamine from these materials. The study also indicated that methamphetamine-contaminated, smooth nonporous surfaces can be easily cleaned to below detectable levels using only mild cleaners. More porous surfaces such as plywood and drywall were unlikely to be decontaminated to below regulatory levels even with three washes using a mild cleaner. This may be due to methamphetamine penetration into the paint on these surfaces. Evaluation of methamphetamine contamination on drywall indicated that approximately 40% of the methamphetamine was removed using a wipe, while another 60% remained in the paint layer. Stronger cleaners such as those with active ingredients including sodium hypochlorite or quaternary ammonia and commercial decontamination agents were more effective than mild detergent-based cleaners and may reduce methamphetamine contamination to below regulatory levels. Results from the encapsulation studies indicate that sprayed on oil-based paint will encapsulate methamphetamine on drywall and plywood surfaces up to 4.5 months, while latex paints were less effective.

Copyright 2012, Taylor & Francis


Shook JJ; Vaughn M; Goodkind S; Johnson H. An empirical portrait of youthful offenders who sell drugs. Journal of Criminal Justice 39(3, special issue): 224-231, 2011. (25 refs.)

Purpose: This study explores the drug dealing behaviors of youthful offenders who sell drugs and examines differences between these offenders and those who do not sell drugs across a variety of measures including types of drugs sold, substance use and behaviors. Methods: The sample consists of 227 youthful offenders in two juvenile residential facilities. Chi-square and t-tests are used to assess differences between youth who sell marijuana, hard drugs, and prescription drugs and those youthful offenders who do not sell drugs across a variety of measures. Results: The majority of youthful offenders in our sample are involved in drug dealing and many are extensively involved. Drug dealing, however, is not tied solely to economic motivations but is connected to patterns of substance use. Youthful offenders who sell drugs are also engaged in patterns of delinquent and other risky behavior at higher levels but the magnitude of differences in substance use and delinquent or risky behaviors varies by type of drugs sold. Conclusions: Youthful offenders who sell drugs are embedded in patterns of substance use and delinquent behavior that differ from those who do not sell drugs and interventions for these youth need to be targeted at multiple levels.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Sindicich N; Burns L. Ecstasy returns and the emerging class of drugs. EDRS Drug Trends Bulletin, October 2012. Sydney: National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, 2012. (3 refs.)

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) is the most comprehensive and detailed study of ecstasy and related drug markets in Australia. The EDRS monitors the price, purity and availability of 'ecstasy' (MDMA) and other related drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, GHB, ketamine and more recently emerging psychoactive substances (EPS). It also examines trends in the use and harms of these drugs. The key findings are as follows: 1.)Due to smaller states having an issue with recruitment NT and WA recruited with broader criteria to include regular (six separate occasions of use) psychostimulant use to recruit regular psychostimulant users (RPU) rather than the previous EDRS criteria of regular Ecstasy user (REU). Participants were primarily recruited through word-of-mouth and street press. 2.) Preference for ecstasy has begun to return (32% in 2012 versus 27% in 2011). Alcohol has overtaken cocaine as the third drug of choice. 3.) Whilst the most popular form of ecstasy consumed on a regular basis is pills (tablet form), there has been an increasing trend in the use of powder and the capsule form and more recently MDMA crystals or Ecstasy rock. 4.) Market characteristics saw ecstasy price as stable at a national price of $25 per pill; there was an increase in the ease of availability in 2012 with less REU/RPU reporting ecstasy being 'difficult' to obtain. Purity perceptions have also increased with more reports of ecstasy being 'high'. 5.) Methamphetamine recent use remained stable, with increased reports of difficulty obtaining 'speed' powder. 6.) Cocaine recent use decreased, however perceived purity reports of cocaine being 'high' increased. 7.) Hallucinogen LSD has significantly decreased in use in 2012 (34% in 2012 vs. 46% in 2011) whilst ketamine and GHB remained stable. 8.) Cannabis and tobacco were two of the highest drugs recently used in the sample. The proportion of daily cannabis smokers increased (24% in 2012 vs. 18% in 2011). 9.) EPS continues to grow as a class of drug. Though small, a significant increase in synthetic cannabinoids was reported in 2012 (15% in 2012 vs. 6% in 2011.

Copyright 2012, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (Australia)


Spadari M; Canioni D; Gregoire E; Drouet G; Bourdon JH; Arditti J et al. Cannabis body packing: Two case reports. Clinical Toxicology 49(9): 862-864, 2011. (7 refs.)

Introduction. Body packing is a well-known means of narcotic carriage across international borders. The most common drugs carried are cocaine and heroin. Case descriptions. We describe 2 cases of cannabis body packing which occurred the same year in the South of France, one with complications: a 45-year-old male went to emergency for abdominal pain. A plain abdominal x-ray revealed multiple foreign bodies in the gastrointestinal tract. It was confirmed by abdominal CT. The laparectomy confirmed peritonitis secondary to colonic perforation, and 34 filled condoms packages were extracted. After calling poison centre, toxicological analysis was performed on one package. The resin wrapped in cellophane contained 15% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The patient was discharged on day 12. Discussion/Conclusion. Cannabis body packing is rarely reported, and the only known complications have a mechanic etiology. Plain abdominal x-ray is the best method for detection and it can be confirmed by abdominal CT and toxicological analysis. Cannabis is the most important illicit drug used in the word. Also cannabis body packing is probably underestimated. Health care practitioners should be aware of the possibility of body packing when someone coming back from abroad complains of abdominal pain.

Copyright 2011, Informa Healthcare


Strang J; Babor T; Caulkins J; Fischer B; Foxcroft D; Humphreys K. Drug policy and the public good: Evidence for effective interventions. Lancet 379(9810): 71-83, 2012. (108 refs.)

Debates about which policy initiatives can prevent or reduce the damage that illicit drugs cause to the public good are rarely informed by scientific evidence. Fortunately, evidence-based interventions are increasingly being identified that are capable of making drugs less available, reducing violence in drug markets, lessening misuse of legal pharmaceuticals, preventing drug use initiation in young people, and reducing drug use and its consequences in established drug users. We review relevant evidence and outline the likely effects of fuller implementation of existing interventions. The reasoning behind the final decisions for action might be of a non-scientific nature, focused more on what the public and policy-makers deem of value. Nevertheless, important opportunities exist for science to inform these deliberations and guide the selection of policies that maximise the public good.

Copyright 2012, Elsevier Science


Sumnall HR; Evans-Brown M; McVeigh J. Social, policy, and public health perspectives on new psychoactive substances. (review). Drug Testing and Analysis 3(7-8, special issue): 515-523, 2011. (119 refs.)

New psychoactive substances pose a particular challenge to those formulating drugs policy and related public health responses. This paper outlines some of the main issues arising from their use, with a particular focus on user perspectives. Such substances are often (at least initially) produced and distributed for different reasons than controlled drugs. They emerge in users' repertoires undetected by most monitoring systems and general population drug surveys. While reasons for use by innovators and early adopters are often in the spirit of self-experimentation, such substances may rapidly diffuse to the recreational arena as a result of enthusiastic user propagation where they act as substitutes or complements to controlled drugs. The majority of substances are believed to be sourced, albeit not exclusively, from manufacturers based in China. They are retailed to consumers through the Internet and physical shops (such as 'head' and 'smart' shops), as well as traditional 'street dealers' (although data on the significance of this latter route of supply are limited). The data required for risk assessment of the harms such substances may pose, as well as information required for accurate user-derived harm reduction advice, are often limited. Moreover, some involved in the commercial supply have deliberately misbranded products, including substituting the active substance, in apparent attempts to circumvent regulatory frameworks. This leaves users susceptible to both health and criminal justice harms. Despite various attempts to restrict the supply, they often continue to be available through the illicit market, although it is not yet possible to predict whether they will join other drugs such as MDMA and LSD as mainstays of the recreational pharmacopeia.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Taylor BG; Brownstein HH; Mulcahy TM; Woods DJ; Fernandes-Huessy J et al. Illicit retail methamphetamine markets and related local problems: A police perspective. Journal of Drug Issues 41(3): 327-357, 2011. (65 refs.)

In this paper we examine whether features of the operation of retail methamphetamine markets affects communities in three domain areas (public safety, health, and economy). We use data from a national survey of law enforcement agencies (n= 1,367) with narcotics officers to examine the operational characteristics of methamphetamine markets. We found that the operational features of a market (the source of methamphetamine and the most common location for selling methamphetamine) can have a significant impact on the types of public safety, health, and economic problems that communities are experiencing. In particular, jurisdictions distinguished by largely semi-private markets (strip clubs and bars) are more likely to be characterized as localities that have a large public safety and health problem. Jurisdictions that are supplied by multiple local and international sources (compared to a single source) were more likely to be characterized as jurisdictions that have problems in the three domains.

Copyright 2011, Florida State University


Thoumi FE. Illegal drugs, anti-drug policy failure, and the need for institutional reforms in Colombia. Substance Use & Misuse 47(8): 972-1004, 2012. (128 refs.)

This paper is inspired by two anomalies encountered in the study of the illegal drugs industry. First, despite the very high profits of coca/cocaine and poppy/opium/heroin production, most countries that can produce do not. Why, for example, does Colombia face much greater competition in the international coffee, banana, and other legal product markets than in cocaine? And second, though illegal drugs are clearly associated with violence, why is it that illegal drug trafficking organizations have been so much more violent in Colombia and Mexico than in the rest of the world? The answers to these questions cannot be found in factors external to Colombia (and Mexico). They require identifying the societal weaknesses of each country. To do so, the history of the illegal drugs industry is surveyed, a simple model of human behavior that stresses the conflict between formal (legal) and informal (socially accepted) norms as a source of the weaknesses that make societies vulnerable is formulated. The reasons why there is a wide gap between formal and informal norms in Colombia are explored and the effectiveness of anti-drug policies is considered to explain why they fail to achieve their posited goals. The essay ends with reflections and conclusion on the need for institutional change.

Copyright 2012, Informa Healthcare


Tsujikawa K; Mikuma T; Kuwayama K; Miyaguchi H; Kanamori T; Iwata YT et al. Profiling of seized methamphetamine putatively synthesized by reductive amination of 1-phenyl-2-propanone. Forensic Toxicology 30(1): 70-75, 2012. (21 refs.)

We report a case of seized methamphetamine (MA) samples showing unique drug profiles. Conventional drug profiling such as impurity profiling and chiral analysis as well as stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) was performed on seven MA-HCl samples. The results of impurity profiling suggested that the samples were synthesized by reductive amination. The high enantiomeric purities of the samples suggested that the samples were optically resolved. The delta C-13 and delta N-15 values gave different grouping patterns from conventional drug profiling. This is the first case report of the use of IRMS with seized MA samples presumptively synthesized by reductive amination.

Copyright 2012, Springer


Uchiyama N; Kawamura M; Kikura-Hanajiri R; Goda Y. Identification of two new-type synthetic cannabinoids, N-(1-adamantyl)-1-pentyl-1H-indole-3-carboxamide (APICA) and N-(1-adamantyl)-1-pentyl-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide (APINACA), and detection of five synthetic cannabinoids, AM-1220, AM-2233, AM-1241, CB-13 (CRA-13), and AM-1248, as designer drugs in illegal products. Forensic Toxicology 30(2): 114-125, 2012. (30 refs.)

Two new-type synthetic cannabinoids, N-(1-adamantyl)-1-pentyl-1H-indole-3-carboxamide (APICA, 1) and N-(1-adamantyl)-1-pentyl-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide (APINACA, 2), have been identified as designer drugs in illegal products being sold in Japan. The identification was based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), high-resolution MS and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses. Both mass and NMR spectrometric data revealed that 1 was 1-pentyl-N-tricyclo[3.3.1.1(3,7)]dec-1-yl-1H-indole-3-carboxamide, and 2 was 1-pentyl-N-tricyclo[3.3.3.1.(3,7)]dec-1-yl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide. Although many of the synthetic cannabinoids detected in illegal products, such as JWH-018, have a 3-carbonyl indole moiety, compounds 1 and 2 are a new type of synthetic cannabinoid having an amide and an adamantyl group, and 2 also has an indazole group in place of an indole group. There has been no synthetic, chemical, or biological information about 1 or 2 until now, making this the first report of these cannabimimetic compounds (1 and 2) as designer drugs. In addition, five synthetic cannabinoids, AM-1220, AM-2233, AM-1241, CB-13 (CRA-13), and AM-1248, are also described herein as newly distributed designer drugs in Japan.

Copyright 2012, Springer


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Afghanistan Opium Survey 2011. Vienna: United Nations, 2011. (42 refs.)

The Afghanistan Opium Survey is implemented annually by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and, since 2003, in collaboration with the Afghan Government. In 2011, several troubling trends emerged. The foremost was the dramatic increase in the value of the opium economy. In 2010, major opium-cultivation areas were affected by plant diseases which led to a large yield reduction (29.2 kg/ha). In 2011, opium yields were back to "normal" levels of 44.5 kg/ha. When compared to 2010, opium production increased by 61% from 3,600 mt in 2010 to 5,800 mt in 2011. However, as with other scarce commodities, the greatly reduced supply of fresh opium from the 2010 harvest time triggered a spectacular rise in opium prices. Between 2009 and 2010, dry opium prices at harvest time increased to US$ 169/kg from US$ 64 in 2009, a jump of 164%. his significant increase in 2011 opium prices and production resulted in a 133% increase in the farm-gate value of opium production compared to 2010. When considering potential income from the opium production for the Afghan economy, numbers are striking, as well. The potential export value of opiates amounts to US$ 2.4 billion or 15% of GDP; the domestic market worth about 1% of this year's GDP. These amounts cannot be easily substituted by other economic activities. This situation presents a worrying possibility, given that farmers surveyed in 2011 cited the high sale price as the most important reason (59%) for cultivating opium poppy in 2011. The high level of opium prices in 2011 continues to provide a strong incentive to plant opium in the upcoming poppy season. Another disquieting development in 2011 was the 7% increase since 2010 in the total area devoted to opium cultivation in Afghanistan. In 2011, 17 provinces grew poppy compared to 14 in 2010. Furthermore, the number of provinces that remained poppy-free (17) decreased by 3 compared to 2010. Data is presented in 50 tables. There are three appendices on trends in cultivation.

Public Domain


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Misuse of Licit Trade for Opiate Trafficking in Western and Central Asia: A Threat Assessment. Vienna: United Nations, 2012. (0 refs.)

This report was prepared by the UNODC Afghan Opiate Trade Project of the Studies and Threat Analysis Section (STAS), Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), within the framework of UNODC Trends Monitoring and Analysis Programme. It analyses the role of dry ports in the regional trade network and the risk of their abuse by drug traffickers. It also contains an in-depth analysis of the ways in which drug traffickers abuse the trade network to smuggle opiates. Many of the problems and risks that are identified in relation to trade agreements, dry ports and the transportation network in Western and Central Asia. The first section contains an overview of the major trade routes used to transport goods in Western and Central Asia, and an explanation of the role of dry ports in the regional transportation network. The second section contains an overview of the eight major bilateral and regional trade and transit trade agreements that Afghanistan has entered into over the last 10 years; The third section contains a discussion of the ways in which opiates are trafficked by sea from South-West Asia to East Africa. With the exception of a decline in 2009, the volume of trade between Afghanistan and other countries in Western and Central Asia has risen continuously since 2004. The total volume of Afghan imports and exports within the region more than tripled between 2004 and 2010. The key findings include the following: There has been no corresponding enhancement in the law enforcement capacity to combat the illegal trade in narcotics at dry ports, seaports and border control points. Most drug seizures have taken place at the main hubs along the trade and transit trade routes in Central Asia and within Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan. This suggests that traffickers have been misusing these trade routes to smuggle opiates from Afghanistan to the global market. For countries in the region with no direct access to the sea, dry ports are crucial hubs for commercial trade. At present, there are 48 dry ports in Western and Central Asia, of which the largest number (17) are in Afghanistan. The rail network links a number of dry ports in Central Asia and plays a vital role in the region. In recent years, the Central Asian rail network has been extended to Afghanistan. Since this extension, several important heroin seizures have reportedly taken place along the network, suggesting that traffickers are abusing the lack of efficient law enforcement control along it. Dry ports are handling an increasingly large quantity of trade. For example, at Chaman dry port in Afghanistan, close to the border of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, the number of containers that pass through annually increased by 18 per cent between 2008 and 2011, from 76,500 to 90,300. Seizures are often reported to have taken place in the vicinity of major dry ports in the region, but not at the dry ports themselves. Owing to the large volume of trade in the region, only a limited number of containers can be inspected by customs officials at seaports, dry ports and border control points. Although drug traffickers continue to use overland routes to smuggle opiates from Afghanistan and chemical precursors into Afghanistan, they are increasingly relying on maritime transportation to ship opiates around the world. In the last few years, more and more Afghan opiates have been trafficked by sea from Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran to East and West Africa, Europe, and South and South-East Asia. East African countries have reported a sharp increase in the number of seizures of heroin trafficked from Pakistan and, to a lesser extent, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The trafficking of heroin by marine transportation between Pakistan and East Asia (mainly China) has been observed for several years. There has been an increase in heroin trafficking from dry ports and seaports in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran to West and Central Europe. There needs to be an improvement in the level of intelligence-sharing in Western and Central Asia and a strengthening of links with relevant law enforcement agencies worldwide. In addition, risk profiling systems need to be introduced at all dry ports and seaports in the region. Data is presented in 10 tables and 9 figures.

Public Domain


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Opiate Flows through Northern Afghanistan and Central Asia: A Threat Assessment. Vienna: United Nations, 2012. (299 refs.)

This report describes the illicit trade of opiates along the Northern route from northern Afghanistan to Central Asia up to the borders of the Russian Federation. It has been organized in three sections. The first section begins by addressing the dynamics of trafficking in northern Afghanistan, including the groups involved, the volumes of opiate flows and opiate consumption, as well as the share that southern Afghanistan production takes in Northern route trafficking. A second section explores trafficking dynamics through Central Asia, including the methods involved and the groups managing the trade. Lastly, the final section briefly analyzes the regional capacity to respond to the threat of Afghan opiates. Among the key findings: Northern Afghanistan sources heroin mostly from the southern and eastern parts of the country. The low volume of seizures heading northward highlights weaknesses in law enforcement manning these routes. Surprisingly, there is more evidence of opium flows from the largely poppy-free north than from the opium-rich south. In 2010-2011, several seizures of opium were reported en route from north to south, but hardly any seizures were made traveling in the opposite direction. More than 65 per cent of 2010 opiate consumption in Afghanistan is accounted for by regions with little or virtually no opium production, namely northern and central Afghanistan. By contrast, southern Afghanistan consumes the least but produces the most opiates. Opium cultivation is likely to reappear in northern Afghanistan in order to replenish dwindling stocks. Otherwise, larger opiate supplies will be required from other regions of Afghanistan, notably from the opium-rich south, to compensate for the sustained low opium production in the north. Most internal opiate routes converge on Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. The city is the key node connecting the various opiate producing regions of Afghanistan. The value of domestic and export sales of illicit opiates in northern Afghanistan was estimated to be close to US$ 400 million in 2010. Northern Afghanistan is one of the safest regions of the country, but it seizes very little opiates relative to its importance in processing and trafficking for the Northern route. Crime groups controlling the trade in this region also appear to operate with a high degree of impunity. Corruption rather than insecurity appears to be the main corollary to high-volume opiate trafficking in northern Afghanistan. In 2010, it is estimated that approximately 85 per cent of the opiate flow through Central Asia, passed through Tajikistan.

Public Domain


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Afghanistan Opium Survey 2012. Opium Risk Assessment for all Regions. Vienna: United Nations, 2012. (0 refs.)

In 2012, the Opium Risk Assessment is carried out in two phases similar to last year. The first phase was carried out in December 2011 and January 2012 and covered the Central, Eastern, Southern and Western region, where opium is sown in fall 2011. The second phase took place in February-March 2012 and covered the Northern and North-eastern regions, where opium poppy is cultivated in spring. This report presents the findings of both phases. The result of this assessment in the Phase-1 regions indicates that the largest opium cultivating provinces, Hilmand and Kandahar, are not likely to see an increase in cultivation despite the current high price of opium. In Hilmand, no major changes in the level of opium cultivation are expected and in Kandahar, opium cultivation is expected to decrease in 2012. The reasons for this development were multiple and differed from area to area. In parts of Hilmand and Kandahar the main dominant reason for declining in poppy cultivation is due to improvement in the security situation, campaign by the government, fear of eradication and agriculture assistance particularly within the Hilmand food zone. In the western provinces namely Farah, Hirat Ghor and Nimroz, poppy cultivation is expected to increase. Similar increasing trends were reported in eastern region namely Nangarhar, Kunar and Kapisa. However, these provinces would still remain at much lower level of cultivation as compared to Hilmand and Kandahar. The increase in poppy cultivation in Ghor province may lead to the loss of its poppy-free status if poppy eradication is not implemented in time. The remaining provinces in the central and eastern regions, which were poppy-free in 2011, are expected to remain so in 2012. The result in the Phase-2 Regions indicates that the largest cultivating province in the north-east, Badakhshan is likely to see an increase in opium cultivation this year. The status of opium cultivation in Takhar remains unpredictable due to large part of the province covered with snow during the survey. There would be no major changes expected in opium cultivation in Faryab and Baghlan provinces in the Northern region. These two provinces lost their poppy-free status last year after two years. The remaining provinces in the northern region would remain poppy-free this year as well. Confirming the findings of the 2011 Afghanistan Opium Survey, the Risk Assessment of this year indicated the strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation. Villages with a low level of security and which had not received agricultural assistance in the previous year were significantly more likely to grow poppy in 2012 than villages with good security and those, which had received assistance. Similarly, villages which had been targeted by an anti-poppy awareness campaign were significantly less likely to grow poppy in 2012.

Public Domain


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). World Drug Report, 2012. Vienna: United Nations, 2012. (163 refs.)

About 230 million people, or 5 per cent of the world's adult population, are estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2010. Problem drug users number about 27 million, which is 0.6 per cent of the world adult population. Throughout the world, illicit drug use appears to be generally stable, though it continues to be rising in several developing countries. Heroin, cocaine and other drugs kill around 0.2 million people each year. Global opium production amounted to 7,000 tons in 2011. That is more than a fifth less than the peak of 2007 but an increase from the low level of 2010, the year in which a plant disease destroyed almost half of the opium harvest in Afghanistan, which continues to be the world's biggest producer. The total area under coca bush cultivation in the world fell by 18 per cent between 2007 and 2010 and by 33 per cent since 2000. Efforts to reduce cultivation and production of the main plant-based problem drugs have, however, been offset by rising levels of synthetic drug production, including significant increases in the production and consumption of psychoactive substances that are not under international control. The report has two major parts. Section I provides recent statistics and trend analysius of illicit drug markets. This includes the extent of illicit drug use and health consequences, the opiate, cocaine and cannabis markets, and illicit markets for amphetamine-type stimulants. Section II characterizes the contemporary drug problem in terms of the the fundamental characteristics of illict drug production and use, the shifts in the problems of drug use over time, and the factors which shape the evolution of drug use problems.

Copyright 2012, United Nations


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Columbia. Coca Cultivation Survey 2011. Vienna: United Nations, 2012. (37 refs.)

Executive Summary: Since 2001, annual censuses have been conducted, covering the entire Colombian territory; this report presents the data from the coca census for 2011. The methodology used by the Project is based on the interpretation of satellite images of medium resolution and field verification. This verification is used for the editing of the interpretation in the office and for the calculation of the extension of coca cultivation. For the areas without information in the images due to cloudiness or other factors, the corrections are estimated based on trend criteria. The historical series was adjusted considering that coca crops in Colombia are smaller and smaller over time; the data in 2011 and 2010 include the adjustment of small fields that give continuity to the historical series. The results of the census show that on 31 December 2011 Colombia had 64,000 hectares cultivated with coca, distributed in 23 of the 32 departments of the country. This represents a stability relation (+3%) with respect to the 62,000 hectares detected in 2010. 14 out of the 23 departments affected show a tendency to reduction; however, the increase in 4 departments compensate for that trend. The Putumayo - Caqueta nucleus had the greatest increase in the area under cultivation. The most important reduction took place in the central region, particularly in the departments of Antioquia and Cordoba. On the other hand, the Pacific region, which was the most affected by coca crops, remained stable. More than half of the area under coca cultivation (63%) is concentrated in 4 departments: Nari´┐Żo, Putumayo, Guaviare and Cauca. Coca fields are more disperse in the territory and the concentration of coca crops is less frequent; nonetheless, 23% of the fields reported in 2011 are associated to the municipalities in the South border of the country. In 2011, the Colombian Government reported the manual eradication of 34,170 hectares of coca and the spraying of 103,302; the total eradicated (manual and aerial spraying) adds up to 137,472 hectares, 6% less than the previous year. Likewise, in 2011 COP $25.496 million were invested in the Forest Warden Family Programme, which benefited 14,918 families; moreover, between 2010 and 2011, the investments of the National Territorial Consolidation Plan added up to COP $ 444,990 million ($125,094 million in 2011), mainly devoted to economic and social development with the object of improving the gap in these territories. The market of coca leaf and its derivatives has a gross value of US$ 420 million (US$ 220 million subtracting production costs at the farm) that are equivalent to 0.2% of the national GDP and to 3% of the GDP of the agrarian sector in 2011. According to the results of the surveys applied to the primary producer, the agro-cultural practices and the production costs were importantly reduced compared to the data from the study done in 2005. The average net income per hectare of coca for a grower that only sells leaf are calculated in around COP $6.500.000 per year, or COP $541.000 per month; this is equivalent to US$294 per month.

Copyright 2012, United Nation


van Nuijs ALN; Maudens KE; Lambert WE; Van Calenbergh S; Risseeuw MDP; Van Hee P et al. Dancing on coke: Smuggling cocaine dispersed in polyvinyl alcohol. Journal of Forensic Sciences 57(1): 234-238, 2012. (8 refs.)

Recent trends suggest that cocaine smugglers have become more and more inventive to avoid seizures of large amounts of cocaine transported between countries. We report a case of a mail parcel containing a dance pad which was seized at the Customs Department of Brussels Airport, Belgium. After investigation, the inside of the dance pad was found to contain a thick polymer, which tested positive for cocaine. Analysis was performed using a routine colorimetric swipe test, gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The polymer was identified as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and contained 18% cocaine, corresponding to a street value of (sic) 20,000. Laboratory experiments showed that cocaine could be easily extracted from the PVA matrix. This case report reveals a new smuggling technique for the transportation of large amounts of cocaine from one country to another.

Copyright 2012, Wiley-Blackwell


Wechsler J. Drug abuse, counterfeits, and critical shortages illustrate need for secure drug supplies. (editorial). Formulary 47(4): 164-165, 2012. (0 refs.)


Werb D; Bouchard M; Kerr T; Shoveller J; Qi JZ; Montaner J et al. Drug dealing cessation among a cohort of drug users in Vancouver, Canada. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 118(2-3): 459-463, 2011. (66 refs.)

Introduction: Drug dealing among drug users has been associated with elevated risk-taking and negative health outcomes. However, little is known about the cessation of drug dealing among this population. Methods: We assessed time to cessation of drug dealing using Cox regression. We also used generalized estimating equation (GEE) analysis and chi-square analysis to examine factors associated with willingness to cease drug dealing. Results: In total, 868 participants reported drug dealing between November 2005 and March 2009. Among 381 participants dealing drugs at baseline, 194 (51%) ceased dealing. Incidence of dealing cessation was positively associated with spending less than $50 per day on drugs (Adjusted Hazard Ratio [AHR] = 1.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14-3.10) and negatively associated with buying drugs from the same source (AHR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.37-0.98). In a GEE analysis, willingness to cease dealing was positively associated with older age (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 1.02.95% CI: 1.01-1.03), crack use (AOR = 2.00,95% CI: 1.44-2.79), public injecting (AOR = 1.95,95% CI: 1.55-2.43), and reporting that police presence affects drug purchases (AOR = 1.53,95% CI: 1.22-1.91), and negatively associated with crystal methamphetamine injection (AOR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.47-0.83). Discussion: Intensity of drug use and acquisition method were predictive of dealing cessation. Willingness to cease dealing was associated with a range of risky drug-related activities. Interventions to reduce drug dealing should be conceived in tandem with addiction treatment strategies.

Copyright 2011, Elsevier Science


Williams CT; Liu W; Levy JA. Crossing over: Drug network characteristics and injection risk along the China-Myanmar border. AIDS & Behavior 15(5): 1011-1016, 2011. (28 refs.)

Border areas are important locations for understanding HIV transmission. This study examines individual and network correlates of border crossing and equipment sharing among methadone maintenance clients in Ruili City, a Chinese city on the Myanmar border. Data are from 298 clients enrolled in the Ruili Methadone Treatment Center. Clients were interviewed about drug use, HIV/AIDS knowledge, treatment motivation, and their social networks. Multinomial and logistic regression analysis were performed. Thirty percent of clients reported injecting in Myanmar. Compared to drug networks that usually inject in China, networks that inject equally in both places (border crossing) are more likely to share equipment. The association between HIV positive status and border-crossing was marginally significant and robust. Results indicate some added degree of risk among clients and drug networks who border-cross to use drugs. More research is needed to understand this phenomenon.

Copyright 2011, Springer