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Illegal drugs such as Ecstasy showing up as cartoon-shaped pills

From the Kansas City Star:

Drugs shaped like Snoopy, Transformers and President Barack Obama’s head recently showed up on Kansas City area streets, adding to a trend that worries police and health experts.

Colorful Ecstasy pills started showing up last year shaped as Homer and Bart Simpson, Ninja Turtles and other characters. As more of the pills that look like vitamins or candy go out locally and nationwide, they put children at great risk, police and experts said.

“Someone leaves this around … kids pick them up and boom,” said H. Westley Clark, director of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

The result could be seizures, a spiked blood pressure and heart rate and even death, he said.

Last month, Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Nevada sent out warnings that the cartoon pills were in Las Vegas. Dealers there call Ecstasy “Thizz” and market it to minors, the DEA warned. They also said they had found pills shaped like Ninja Turtles, Transformers and other Simpsons characters.

Police in Utah last month busted a drug ring and found 500 Ecstasy pills stamped in the shape of Obama and Snoopy.

The cartoon character marketing is a ploy by predators to promote a dangerous drug as light fun in order to sell to more teens and young adults, Clark said. The irresponsible marketers also use false advertising, police said, because the tablets often contain no Ecstasy at all but instead a powerful mix of other drugs.

For more than a year, about half the so-called Ecstasy pills tested at labs in Kansas City and Johnson County have turned out not to be Ecstasy. They were a combination of other drugs once used to treat stomach parasites that have effects and dangers similar to Ecstasy.

The shaped tablets are more likely to be fake than flat tablets sold as Ecstasy, drug experts said.

Ecstasy tends to crumble and does not press as easily as the piperazine family of drugs once used to kill stomach worms, said Zachary Skinner, a forensic chemist at the Kansas City Police Department crime lab.

It takes a combination of two variations of piperazine to get the Ecstasy effects, he said. This combination surfaced in New Zealand in the 1990s as “legalX,” but many countries have since criminalized BZP, one of the variations.

In the United States, BZP is illegal under federal law and Missouri law, but it is legal in Kansas.

Balerie Kamb, a supervisor at the Johnson County crime lab, said that should be changed. Her lab started occasionally finding BZP two years ago, but it skyrocketed, she said. “We’re surprised now when we get (Ecstasy) instead of BZP.”

Other state crime labs are starting to report the same. In Ohio, labs first found the worm-killer drugs in January 2008 and within a year they were in more than half the pills tested, according to an Ohio report.

The report also said some users call Ecstasy “a surprise high,” because they never know what they’re getting or how strong it will be. Drugs like caffeine, methamphetamine and even heroin also sometimes get into the pills.

Forget exact dosages and quality control, Clark said, and sloppy manufacturing also can make people sick from bacteria or chemical contamination.

In Australia, more than 60 people have died in the past eight years from Ecstasy or another drug substituted for it, according to media reports.

In the United States, there are no comprehensive numbers on deaths, but reports from cities in eight states found it was involved in 50 deaths in 2005, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Posted: 6/29/2009 12:02:00 PM

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World Drug Report 2009 to be released today

From United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime:

At 10 a.m. Washington D.C. local time (EDT) today, UNODC will release the 2009 edition of its flagship publication, the World Drug Report.  A webcast of the press conference and all relevant materials can be found at

This year, for the first time, the World Drug Report includes special sections on the quality of drug data available to UNODC, trends in drug use among young people and drug-related offences recorded by police. It also addresses the black market for drugs, one of the most formidable unintended consequences of drug control, and ways in which the international community can best tackle it.

Every year, the World Drug Report provides one of the most complete assessments of the international drug problem, with comprehensive information on the illicit drug situation. It provides detailed estimates and information on trends in the production, trafficking and use of opium/heroin, coca/cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants. The Report, based on data and estimates collected or prepared by Governments, UNODC and other international institutions, attempts to identify trends in the evolution of global illicit drug markets.

Through the World Drug Report, UNODC aims to enhance Member States' understanding of global illicit drug trends and increase their awareness of the need for the more systematic collection and reporting of data relating to illicit drugs.

The Report is being launched as run-up to World Drug Day on 26 June, and will be available on

Canada now a major exporter of methamphetamine, UN report says
From the National Post (Canada):

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has released its 2009 World Drug Report, and among the surprisingly complete picture of the global drugs trade, it appears that in recent years Canada's traffickers have come to play an alarmingly prominent role.

Among the findings in the 306-page report is that Canada and Mexico have picked up the slack in the production of methamphetamine as efforts to close meth labs in the United States since their peak in 2004 have borne fruit.

The report says "there is evidence that Canada-based Asian organized crime groups and outlaw motorcycle gangs have significantly increased the amount of methamphetamine they manufacture and export since 2003, for the US market, but also for Oceania and East and South-East Asia.

AFP reports that the production of heroin, cocaine and cannabis decreased or stabilized in 2008, but synthetic drugs like ecstasy went up.

It also found that "Canada has grown to be the most important producer of MDMA for North America, and since 2006, all ecstasy laboratories reported have been large capacity facilities operated principally by Asian organized crime groups.

The report also says that eradication efforts in the U.S. and Canada have had the perverse effect of making the marijuana crop many times as potent as it was 20 years ago, while still being the most widely available illicit drug. Serious health and psychology side effects are now as likely among marijuana users as those who use other 'harder' drugs.

Worldwide production of heroin and cocaine falling, says UN drug chief
From the Guardian:

Drug use should be treated more as an illness than a crime, the head of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime said today as the body's annual report announced a worldwide decline in the production of cocaine and heroin.

The report for 2009 called for traffickers to be targeted rather than users and announced that there was a worldwide growth in synthetic drugs.

It also said the UK now had the largest number of cocaine users in western Europe, although the per capita rates were higher in Spain. The purity of the cocaine on sale in the UK has declined substantially, with less than 5% purity.

Britain had the highest number of "problem" drug users – as opposed to those who use drugs occasionally – in western Europe. The UK was also seizing more amphetamines than any other country in Europe.

Antonio Maria Costa, director of the UNODC, called for universal access to drug treatment and said: "People who take drugs need medical help, not criminal retribution."

He said that was one of the best ways of shrinking the market as people with serious drug problems provide the bulk of demand. He added that legalisation of drugs was not the answer.

According to the report, opium cultivation in Afghanistan, where 93% of the world's opium is grown, declined by 19% in 2008. Colombia, which produces half of the world's cocaine, saw an 18% decline in cultivation and a 28% decline in production compared with 2007.

Global coca production, at 845 tonnes, was said to be at a five-year low, despite some increases in cultivation in Peru and Bolivia.

Seismic shifts were taking place in the $50bn (£30bn) global cocaine market, the report suggested. "Purity levels and seizures [in main consumer countries] are down, prices are up, and consumption patterns are in flux. In Central America, cartels are fighting for a shrinking market."

Cannabis remains the most widely cultivated and used drug around the world. Data also shows that it is more harmful than commonly believed, said the report. The average THC content (the harmful component) of hydroponic marijuana in North America almost doubled in the past decade, which led to a big rise in the number of people seeking treatment.

The world's biggest markets for cannabis were North America, Oceania and western Europe. For cocaine, North America and some parts of western Europe remain the main markets.

While the use of amphetamines, methamphetamine and ecstasy has levelled off in developed countries, production and consumption may be growing elsewhere in the world. Industrial-sized laboratories in south-east Asia, it added, were producing massive quantities of methamphetamine tablets, crystal meth and other substances such as Ketamine.

The report concluded that illegal drug seizures were up in 2007 and all drug seizure totals were close to all-time highs; about 18 to 28 million people are heavy drug users who are likely to be "physically or psychologically dependent"; opiates and cocaine have about 16 to 21 million users each; between 11 and 21 million people inject drugs; between 16 and 51 million were amphetamine-group users in the past year; and between 12 and 23 million took ecstasy.

Posted: 6/24/2009 4:05:00 PM

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ENDO: Chronic Opioid Therapy Risks Hypopituitarism

From MedPage Today:

Chronic opioid therapy significantly increases the risk of multiple hormonal deficiencies that warrant evaluation, according to data from small retrospective study.

Hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism topped the list, occurring in 16 of 25 patients, Murray Gordon, MD, of Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, reported at the Endocrine Society meeting.

Ten patients each had growth hormone deficiency and adrenal insufficiency. On average, the 25 patients had 1.68 disorders associated with hypopituitarism.

About half of the patients had combined deficiencies.

"Patients treated with chronic opioid therapy should be thoroughly evaluated for hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction," said Dr. Gordon. "Larger prospective studies are required to confirm these findings. The effects of treatments need to be assessed in patients with hypopituitarism associated with chronic use of opioids."

Though infrequently documented in medical literature, isolated reports of adverse endocrine effects from chronic opioid use date back more than a century, said Dr. Gordon.

Opioids' known effects on endocrine pathways include suppression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, suppression of adrenocorticotropic hormone, and suppression of growth hormone.

However, little information has accumulated regarding the effects of chronic opioid use on hypothalamic-pituitary function.

To examine the issue, Dr. Gordon and colleagues retrospectively reviewed medical records of chronic opioid users referred for assessment of hypothalamic-pituitary function.

The study population comprised 14 men and 11 women, all of whom had received opioids for more than six months.

The forms of chronic opioid therapy consisted of fentanyl patch for seven patients, hydrocodone for five, oxycodone (Oxycontin) for four, sustained-release morphine and methadone for three patients each, an intrathecal morphine pump for two, and hydromorphone for one.

All the patients underwent dynamic pituitary testing and measurement of baseline pituitary function.

Hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism was defined as low testosterone or estradiol with inappropriately nonelevated gonadotropins.

Ten men and six women met the criteria for the condition. All of the men had low testosterone levels and low gonadotropin levels.

All of the women had low estradiol levels and either low or low-normal gonadotropins. Three of the six were premenopausal, and all six were amenorrheic.

The investigators defined adrenal insufficiency as low levels of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or a low stimulated peak cortisol level.

The 10 patients with adrenal insufficiency had lower cortisol levels (P<0.007), basal ACTH levels (P<0.001), and stimulated peak cortisol levels (P<0.03) compared with patients who had normal adrenal function.

Growth hormone deficiency was defined as a low insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) or a low stimulated peak growth hormone level.

Patients with the deficiency had significantly lower IGF-1 levels (P<0.007) and a significantly lower peak stimulated growth hormone level (P<0.001).

All of the patients had either a peak hormone level <3 ng/mL or a peak stimulated hormone level <5 ng/mL in association with low IGF-1 and multiple pituitary deficiencies.

The investigators found no evidence of hypothyroidism in any patient.

MRI scans of 24 of the 25 patients revealed a normal pituitary in 15, six with heterogenous pituitaries, and three with partial empty sella.

There were 9 patients with single deficiencies, and 16 with combined deficiencies. 64% had hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, 60% had adrenal insufficiency, and 64% had growth hormone deficiency.

Posted: 6/22/2009 12:12:00 PM

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'Magic mint' hallucinogen under fire in U.S.

From USA Today:

Saturnino Allende crouches beside a mountain path and gently puts his fingers around the stem of a plant with rough, tongue-shaped leaves.

"This is it," he says about the powerful hallucinogen Salvia divinorum, known as "magic mint." In just a few years, it has emerged from Mexico's Indian villages into one of the hottest drugs in the USA and a crucial cash crop for poor farmers here.

The good times may be coming to an end, as 11 states have rushed to pass laws that restrict the use of salvia, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is studying whether it should be banned nationwide.

"There was no legitimate purpose for that herb, and the things it was being used for were potentially harmful," says Thom Collier, a former state representative who wrote the Ohio law that outlawed salvia in April. "We thought it would be better to deter this sooner than later."

A ban in Nebraska takes effect in September. California and Maine prohibit selling salvia to minors, and Louisiana and Tennessee limit it to animal consumption, as in scientific research. Ten countries ban salvia, and six others have restrictions on selling it, according to the Salvia divinorum Research and Information Center, a website about salvia.

Wholesalers are already making fewer trips to Mexico's Sierra Mazateca as the legal markets dry up. Carlos Campos, president of Aztecas Plants, says his company has a warehouse full of salvia in the Mexican city of Orizaba. He told farmers who grow the crop to cut production.

"This is an important part of their economy," Campos says. "These legal issues really hurt."

The United States and Mexico don't keep figures on salvia sales, but Campos said business was booming until just recently. In 2008, he exported 8 tons of salvia leaves to the U.S. and Europe, up from 550 pounds in 2002.

Videos on websites such as YouTube showing users laughing hysterically after a few puffs helped spur salvia's popularity. A 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said 1.8 million Americans have used the herb, and 756,000 had used it the previous year.

On a recent afternoon, Steve Pollard, owner of Arena Ethnobotanicals, an importer based in Britain and San Diego, and Campos handed out roasted chicken, tortillas and beer to about 50 Mazatecs who had hiked two hours through the mountains to sell their salvia leaves.

By mid-afternoon Campos' truck was filled with black garbage bags containing 1,185 pounds of dried salvia leaf.

Before salvia, this region about 170 miles southeast of Mexico City was better known for its psychedelic mushrooms. Albert Hoffman, the inventor of LSD, came here to try them with the Mazatec medicine men. So did the Beatles' George Harrison.

The magic mushrooms, salvia leaves and psychedelic seeds of morning glories make up the Mazatec medicine man's "tool kit" to help diagnose illnesses, says Jose Luis Díaz, an expert on traditional psychedelics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The local healers grind the leaves into a drink and feed it to a patient. "It's done in silence, in a dark place, to avoid any outside stimulus that might interfere with the experience," Díaz says.

The hallucinations can be intensely emotional and include feelings of floating above the body or having visions, Díaz says. Most foreigners smoke the leaf, says John Boyd, CEO of Arena Ethnobotanicals. "Head shops" and Internet sites sell leaves fortified with salvia extract, making them five to 35 times stronger.

"It's not a party drug, and it's not a substitute for marijuana," Boyd says. "Most people try it once, put it in a drawer and never touch it again."

Many farmers here say they don't really understand the legal issues over salvia. Federico Basilio looks confused when a reporter refers to the leaves as an enervante, or drug.

"I don't really know how they use (salvia) up there," Basilio says of the USA. "But for us, it's been a good crop."

Posted: 6/22/2009 9:12:00 AM

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Denture Adhesive Toxic to Some Patients

From PRWeb:

A recent report in the medical journal Neurology documented several patients in which zinc poisoning was a result of their denture cream. In the past, dental patients commonly reported disliking the smell, taste, and general messiness of denture creams.

The neurology article found that minor changes in the amount of electrical particles (ions) operating the body's nervous system can have disastrous results to one's overall health. Some of the symptoms in the studied patients wearing denture cream included: numbness and weakness in the arms and legs resulting in wheelchair dependence, urinary tract infection (bladder infection), mental cognitive decline, hand weakness and numbness, poor balance, progressive numbness, loss of sense of vibration, and poor muscular coordination. The patients documented were in their 40's and not long-time adhesive wearers.

Dr. James McAnally, Seattle's most recommended by fellow peers implant dentist and noted international dental authority, comments, "We've always seen patients seeking to rid themselves of dentures because of functional problems such as not being able to eat the foods they wish. The adhesives have also been a major motivational factor for these patients as well since adhesive were never all that effective at stabilizing or holding dentures in place. Now with this new information, there is a health risk we never knew about. Quite literally, form the health perspective, patients should be inquiring with their dentist on options where they would no longer have to use denture creams. If you've been putting off getting rid of dentures, this truly is one of the most profound reasons to seek care."

Posted: 6/19/2009 2:33:00 PM

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CDC: One-quarter of suicides intoxicated

From United Press International:

A 17-state study found about one-quarter of those who died by suicide were above the legal limit for alcohol intoxication, U.S. health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, issued Thursday, said the study showed alcohol was linked to suicide across a variety of populations including sex, age and racial/ethnic groups.

The CDC analyzed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System for the two-year period 2005-2006 to examine the relationship between alcohol and suicide among racial/ethnic groups.

The results of the analysis showed that based upon blood alcohol concentration, the overall prevalence of alcohol intoxication -- blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 mg/dL -- was 23.6 percent among those who died by suicide. The highest percentage was among American Indian/Alaska Native at 37.1 percent, followed by Hispanics/Latinos at 28.7 percent and among those ages 20-49 at 28.2 percent, the study said.

Posted: 6/19/2009 12:24:00 PM

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OSHA Targets Lead Exposure in Midwestern States

From Occupational Health & Safety:

OSHA's office in Kansas City, Mo., announced Tuesday a special regional emphasis program aimed at reducing occupational exposure to lead, which the agency said is one of the leading causes of on-the-job illnesses for workplaces under its jurisdiction in the Midwestern states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

The potential for lead exposure depends on the industry, but generally speaking, lead is an ingredient in thousands of products widely used, including lead-based paints, lead solder, electrical fittings and conduits, tank linings, and plumbing fixtures.

Some common operations that can generate lead dust and fumes include demolition operations; flame-torch cutting; welding; use of heat guns, sanders, scrapers, or grinders to remove lead paint; and abrasive blasting of steel structures.

"Occupational exposure to lead continues to be one of the most prevalent overexposures found throughout industry," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "It is imperative we do all we can to reduce that exposure to workers. This special regional emphasis program will serve to amplify OSHA's commitment to ensuring the safety and health of workers in all occupations."

This program will set targeted inspections in industries or workplaces where there is a potential for lead exposure, and also will cover complaints and referrals regarding lead exposure.

Posted: 6/18/2009 10:21:00 AM

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California may require prescriptions for allergy pills amid meth lab concerns

From the San Jose Mercury News:

You've been getting your Sudafed, Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D over the counter for years, but that could change Jan. 1 if a state bill to combat methamphetamine use becomes law.

California lawmakers are looking at requiring prescriptions for popular over-the-counter cold and allergy medications that contain pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the illicit manufacture of meth.

The Senate passed the bill 22-10, sending it to the Assembly for consideration. If it's passed and gets the governor's signature, consumers would have two choices: Go to the doctor or change their medicine of choice.

Although hotly contested between law enforcement advocates and health organizations, the legislation isn't widely known among people waiting in line at their local pharmacy.

"I don't need another co-pay," said Mary Dolan, a 51-year-old Sacramento resident. "My co-pay went up last year. And with the economy and insurance costs these days, I just don't think there should be any undue burdens on consumers getting the medicine they want."

Dolan, like millions of other people, uses drugs containing pseudoephedrine to combat seasonal sniffles, the occasional cold and sinus problems.

Lawmakers supporting the change and law-enforcement agencies say fighting meth labs — a growing problem in the state — is of paramount importance to public safety.

He added that federal sales restrictions have not solved the problem. In 2006, the U.S. government limited individual purchases to no more than 3.5 grams of pseudoephedrine in one day, required retailers to ask for identification before making sales, and required them to keep a log of all sales.

"Most meth is made with pseudoephedrine that is legally purchased," Wright said. "So we need to slow down their source of material."

Senate Bill 484, modeled after a 2006 Oregon law, is expected to stop the practice of "smurfing" — when meth makers hire five to six people to drive around to different pharmacies that sell pseudoephedrine products and buy the maximum legal amount at each location. A day's worth of smurfing could result in enough pseudoephedrine to make $20,000 worth of meth, officials said.

"After we passed the bill, Oregon went from having about 40 meth lab incidents a month to three active meth lab incidents per year in both 2007 and 2008," said Rob Bovette, the district attorney from rural Lincoln County, Ore., and author of that state's bill. "We've completely eliminated smurfing, and we've nearly eliminated meth labs."

The federal legislation has had a chilling effect. In 2008, California reported 346 meth lab incidents — ranging from seizing an active meth lab to cleaning up toxic remnants. In 2004, before the federal law took effect, California authorities recorded 764 meth lab responses.

Advocates, however, point out that the number of meth lab incidents reported last year increased from 2007. They also argue that while the bill may pose inconveniences for consumers, meth labs pose dangers to entire communities.

"In addition to serving as a (manufacturing) point for meth, they're likely to blow up," said John Lovell, a lobbyist for law enforcement organizations including the California Peace Officers Association. "They can cause enormous toxic waste pollution in a community, people who are exposed to the meth fumes, particularly children, can be severely damaged, and, of course, they are the manufacturing points for meth."

Lovell added that there are countless alternatives for consumers looking to stop their allergy and cold symptoms.

"There are at least 30 and as many as 100 cold medications that do not use pseudoephedrine," Lovell said. "When the law went into effect in Oregon, many consumers just switched (medications)."

But consumers say they use the medications containing pseudoephedrine because they are more effective in relieving the nasal congestion associated with colds and allergies.  

Posted: 6/18/2009 9:57:00 AM

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Training helping police better ID substances

From Cody Enterprise:

It’s been more than a year since Cody police officers underwent training in identifying the wide variety of impairing substances drivers use before taking the wheel, and police say it’s making a difference.

“There’s more of an awareness,” Sgt. Jason Stafford said. “It’s made our street officers more aware of what else is out there.”

Traditionally, DWUIs meant alcohol impairment, but increasingly police see drivers using everything from illegal drugs to prescription pills to household chemicals.

“Many people think DWUI is alcohol, but it’s any substance that impairs you,” Sgt. Stafford said.

For the third time in less than two years, a young driver apparently huffing “Dust-Off” cleaner caused major damage two weeks ago. Last month, a Cody woman was sent to prison after she took painkillers and caused a head-on collision, seriously injuring the other driver.

Stafford was among four officers - one for each shift plus one - who last year attended Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training in Laramie and Phoenix.

They practiced evaluation on volunteers in a holding cell and saw “many scary things,” such as the effects of using methamphetamine and heroine, Stafford said.

They learned to identify signs of impairment in drivers with a low blood alcohol content.

The DRE program is new to Wyoming but common in California, where it originated.

While it’s legal to buy Dust-Off, state law prohibits inhaling it, and using it and driving counts as a DWUI.

“If there’s two or three cans of Dust-Off or five bottles of cough syrup, that’s an indicator,” Stafford said.

Police now look for pill bottles, too, things they might have missed if they focused only on empty beer cans.

Posted: 6/17/2009 4:39:00 PM

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Study finds half of men arrested test positive for drugs

From USA Today:

Half of the men arrested in 10 U.S. cities test positive for some type of illegal drug, a federal study found.

Not only do the findings show "a clear link between drugs and crime," they also highlight the need to provide drug treatment, says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Assessing offenders for drug and mental health problems and providing treatment is "important if you want to stop recidivism and recycling people through the system," says Kerlikowske, who supports drug courts that offer court-ordered drug treatment.

"There's an opportunity when someone is arrested to divert them to treatment if they need it," says Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance Network, a group that supports legalizing marijuana and treating drug use as a public health issue. "But people shouldn't have to get arrested to get treatment."

In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested in 10 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug.

Marijuana is the most common drug in every city where testing was done except Atlanta, where cocaine is most prevalent, the study found.

Methamphetamine use is concentrated on the west coast where 35% of the men arrested in Sacramento and 15% of the men arrested in Portland tested positive for the drug.

Heroin use is highest, at 29%, among men arrested in Chicago, an increase from 20% in 2007. Heroin use among arrestees declined in Portland, from 12% in 2007 to 8% in 2008.

Positive drug tests declined since 2007 among men arrested in Atlanta, Portland and Washington, the study found. Some of that decline can be attributed to law changes, Kerlikowske says.

Portland passed laws restricting access to ingredients needed to make methamphetamine, Kerlikowske says.

Cities and states need more resources for drug treatment, says Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, which advocates for alternatives to incarceration.

"If you just want drug treatment, in some places you are better off getting arrested and going to drug court," Mauer says.

"The federal resources that have gone into the drug war have been heavily oriented toward police and incarceration rather than treatment. We need to shift that use of resources," he says.

Posted: 6/12/2009 12:28:00 PM

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