Substance Abuse

Information and statistics about substance abuse around the world. Statistics also includes drug addiction rates, drug trafficking information, and sales and prices of the illegal drug trade.

In Fiscal Year 2012, law enforcement officials in the US State of Ohio seized a record 607 meth labs across the state. In the first 8 months of the FY 2013 period, authorities discovered 575 meth labs.

The previous high point of meth labs being operated in the state was back in 2005, when police discovered 444 labs. Due to changes in the law making the sale of pseudoephedrine more difficult, the number of labs discovered by police decreased to 112 in 2008.

(Information on meth addiction and trafficking.)

The current rise in meth labs is due to changes in the production of meth. Police state that cookers of meth use an easier recipe that can cook up a batch of meth in under an hour. Producers generally use a sports-drink bottle due to its durability and can easily move the necessary equipment around in a backpack.

Source:  Holly Zachariah, “Meth labs’ revival spurs new police efforts,” Columbus Dispatch, June 23, 2013.

Security officials in Colombia report that illegal mining of gold has become a more profitable activity for FARC, ELN and other organized crime gangs in the country.

According to a police official, a kilogram of cocaine sold in the Colombia jungle is sold for $2,570 (5 Million Colombian Pesos).  Based on the current world market price for gold, a kilogram of gold could be sold for up to 19 times the price of cocaine.

In addition to the higher prices for gold, the armed rebels are able to sell more gold in a shorter period of time. To harvest cocaine in the jungles, a farmer would need expertise in harvesting cocaine and the process generally takes up to 6 months. In comparison, an illegal gold mining operation can extract up to 2 kilograms of gold each week.

In 2012, police shut down 330 illegal gold mines across the country. In the first half of 2013, police shut down 336 illegal mines.

Source:  Andrew Willis, “Gold Beats Cocaine as Colombia Rebel Money Maker: Police,” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 21, 2013.

Criminal justice programs in Colombia reported that 786 criminal gangs were broken up within the country in 2012. In addition to the actions against the organized crime groups, police and security services captured 242 drug traffickers and extradited 192 traffickers to foreign nations.

40 drug trafficking networks were also dismantled by police.

Police also reported on actions targeting microtrafficking, or street level drug dealing. Through their operations, government security agents seized 99,184 kilograms of cocaine, 132,182 tablets of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy, and 292,220 kilograms of marijuana.

2,038 people who involved in kidnapping and ransom incidents were also arrested in 2012.

Source:  James Bargent, “Colombia Police Dismantle 100s of Gangs in 2012,” Insight Crime, June 21, 2013.

According to  Washington’s Office of Financial Management, the state plans on taxing legal marijuana 25 percent at the point of sale for the consumer.

Producers are estimated to sell legal marijuana for $3 per gram to processors, who are forecast to charge retailer $6 per gram.

The retailers will then charge customers $12 per gram before taxes, meaning that the final price paid by customers buying legal marijuana in the state of Washington would be $16 per gram.

(Illegal marijuana prices worldwide.)

Source:  Alison Vekshin, “Washington Races Colorado for Billions in Pot-Tax Revenue,” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 24, 2013.

According to statistics released by criminal justice programs in Minnesota, there were 482 arrests for heroin charges in the state in 2012. The number of arrests was 134 percent higher than the 206 heroin arrests made in 2011. The latest available emergency rook admission involving heroin shows that in 2011 there were 3,493 admissions in the Twin Cities. Back in 2004, there were 1,180 emergency room admissions for heroin. And in 2012, there were a reported 129 opiate-related overdose deaths in the state, a 40 percent increase from the 92 overdose deaths in 2010.

In addition to the increase in heroin use in Minnesota, methamphetamine abuse has also started to increase. In 2012, there were 21 reported overdose deaths due to meth use, and increase from the 10 deaths in 2011. In 2012, methamphetamine abuse accounted for 7.4 percent of all treatment admissions and 27 meth labs were seized by police in Minnesota.

(Price of heroin worldwide.)

Source:  Rupa Shenoy, “Report: Heroin use steady, but meth is coming back in Twin Cities,” MPR News, June 21, 2013.


Law enforcement officials in the US State of Oregon have identified at least 69 drug trafficking organizations operating in the state.

In 2011, police were able to seized $4 Million in drug proceeds from the traffickers.

Between 2005 and 2012, security officials in Mexico traced 800 guns that were found and used in Mexico back to Oregon.

Source:  Les Zaitz, “Drug cartels in Oregon: How traffickers operate,” Oregonian, June 21, 2013.

The United States sent $50 Million in counter-narcotics assistance to the West African region in 2012. The amount of assistance increased from the $7.5 Million sent to the region in 2009.

The level of counterfeit-narcotics spending is increasing by the United States due to the rise in cocaine trafficking. Drug cartels in South America are using the region as a transportation hub for the cocaine that is being trafficked to Europe.

In 2012, the cocaine that was being transported through West Africa was valued at $1.25 Billion.

Source:  Kyle Benjamin Schneps, “The United States and Drug Trafficking in Guinea-Bissau,” Council on Foreign Relations, Africa in Transition, June 20, 2013.

According to data from the United States Customs and Border Protection, 17 million pounds of marijuana was seized on the US-Mexico border between 2005 and 2011. During that same time period, 233,000 pounds of cocaine was seized by US criminal justice agencies.

(More statistics about crime in the US.)

Source:  Marie McIntosh, “Cocaine, ‘caviar of street drugs,’ remains in high demand,” Center for Investigative Reporting, June 20, 2013.

In 2009, the Korea Customs Service discovered 150  cases of drug smuggling. In 2012, the number of cases discovered by the KCS increased to 232.

In the first five months of 2013, customs officials seized 21.7 kilograms of methamphetamine at South Korean harbors and airports. The amount of meth seized during that time frame was higher than the total amount of meth seized in 2012.  Officials also report that the number of methamphetamine trafficking groups that are using South Korea as a transportation hub is increasing as well. In 2009, just 1 kilograms of the meth seized in South Korea was destined for another country. In 2011, the amount of meth destined for a third country increased to 7.8 kilograms, and rose again to 16 kilograms in 2012.

Marijuana trafficking is also increasing in South Korea. The number of individuals attempting to smuggle marijuana into the country rose by 37 percent between January-May 2013 from the year before. The amount of the marijuana seized by 600 percent.

Source:  “Drug smuggling on the rise in S Korea,” Asia One, June 20, 2013.

In the coastal city of Puerto Limón in Costa Rica, residents are becoming addicted to cocaine due to its location along the trafficking routes from South American to the United States. Security officials in the country state that many drug traffickers are paying local suppliers in cocaine, which is then consumed locally.

(See all wildlife trafficking statistics.)

With the rise in domestic users, many cocaine addicts are turning to turtle egg poaching in order to feed their habit. Poachers are  dig up several turtle nests at night which yields up to 90 turtle eggs. The poachers then sell these eggs directly to the cocaine dealer as payment for their drugs. The dealer turns around and sells a single turtle egg on the black market for $1. The eggs are popular with the local residents when combined with hot sauce and are sold in restaurants and street stalls.

(More prices of exotic wildlife on the black market.)

Source:  Scott Wallace, ” Costa Rican Murder Shines Light on Poaching, Drug Nexus,” National Geographic, June 17, 2013.