December 15, 2015

DEA Drug Threat Assessment Highlights Heroin and Painkiller Abuse

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration recently released its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment. Among the report’s findings:

  • There were over 46,000 drug-induced deaths nationally in 2013.
  • Since 2008, drug overdose deaths have been the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S. (motor vehicle-related deaths are second and firearm-related deaths third).
  • In 2013, drug overdose deaths from opioid analgesics (prescription pain medications) exceeded the deaths from cocaine and heroin combined.

The report is based on several sources, such as the National Drug Threat Survey (which includes responses on a number of topics, submitted by over 1,100 state and local law enforcement agencies). When asked to rank the greatest drug threat, the most common response in the 2015 survey was heroin, followed by methamphetamine, controlled prescription drugs, cocaine, and marijuana.  As recently as 2011, heroin ranked fourth.

In addition to detailed drug statistics, the report contains information on topics such as drug trafficking and illicit drug-related finance.