Statistics may show increase in drug abuse
Reported drug abuse in Boulder has been steadily increasing since 2003, according to Boulder Police Department statistics.
The statistics, which are quantitative figures of drug abuse as reported crimes such as possession and drug seizures, show that there were 236 reported incidents of drug abuse in Boulder in 2006. This number is up from 193 in 2005, 183 in 2004 and 167 in 2003, a 41 percent increase over the four-year period.
CO Dept.of Human Services,Alcohol & Drug Abuse Division: http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/adad/
National Drug Intelligence Center: www.usdoj.gov/ndic
Boulder PD Crime Stats : http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3737&Itemid=1386
CBI Crime Statistics : http://cbi.state.co.us/dr/cic2k5/
“I think it is important to note that the number of reported incidents are just that – reported incidents,” said Boulder Police Spokeswoman Julie Brooks. “It is not necessarily an accurate reflection of what is actually occurring.”
What is actually occurring appears to be an increasing statewide trend in reported drug abuse. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation made 17,352 drug related arrests in 2005, over a thousand more than it made in 2004 and 2,236 more than in 2003.
This calculates to a 14.8 percent increase in drug related arrests.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, methamphetamine availability has increased in Aurora and Weld counties, and the Boulder County Drug Task Force has reported recent increases in the availability of LSD, GHB and heroin.
“Meth is a big concern because it is affiliated with so many other crimes, particularly identity theft,” said CBI Spokesman Lance Clem. “Meth labs raise social service issues as well as community health problems.”
The Denver division of the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that while the overall number of methamphetamine labs in the state has decreased, there were 131.5 kilograms of methamphetamines seized in Colorado in 2005. That is a 265 percent increase from the 36 kilograms seized in 2004.
According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse division of the Colorado Department of Human Services, there were 24,418 drug related treatment admissions into Colorado health care centers in 2005, a 1.7 percent increase from 24,013 in 2004. The average age of persons admitted for drug treatment statewide was 30, and 31 percent of persons treated were younger than 25.
Data provided by the Boulder County Drug Task Force shows that marijuana is the most widespread and abused substance in Boulder, next to alcohol and tobacco. Though cocaine and methamphetamine use remain prevalent, other drugs are being abused as well.
“Ecstasy is reappearing on the Boulder scene after a few years of being nearly gone,” said Boulder County Drug Task Force Commander Steve Prentup. “It is rumored to be coming from California, where a large manufacturing lab is set up with a large operational pill press.”
Heroin use has also been on the rise in Boulder. Between Oct. 1, 2006, and Feb. 28, 2007, Boulder police reported 16 heroin-related incidents and made three arrests involving heroin use in public restrooms.
Five deaths in Boulder County during that period reportedly were related to heroin use, and eight heroin-related deaths were reported in 2006.
The National Drug Intelligence Center indicates that white heroin, a high-purity white powdered form of heroin, has become available in the greater Denver area, one of only four regions in the country where the drug has recently surfaced. The latest white heroin availability accompanies the Mexican “black tar” type of heroin that has typically been abused in the past in Boulder.
Local and federal law enforcement agencies are focusing on stopping the upward trend in drug abuse, using a variety of measures to combat drug use statewide and in the Boulder community.
“We have a community services unit that focuses on crime prevention and education for the community,” Brooks said. “As part of that, we do educational classes to a variety of different groups about the effects of drugs, recognizing drug use, et cetera.”
The Denver division of the DEA has also assigned special agents to work with and educate local communities and civic leaders. The agents conduct proactive programs focused on educating the public.
“There is a direct correlation between our law enforcement efforts and the role of the media in educating the public and decreasing drug usage,” said Jim Palestino, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s Denver division. “Our primary goal is to try and dismantle and disrupt the drug trafficking that occurs to the U.S. from Mexico and other countries.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Tim McAvoy at firstname.lastname@example.org.