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drugs in Maryland

Drugs in the United States: Maryland

State Facts
Population: 5,296,486
Law Enforcement Officers: 14,767
State Prison Population: 22,969
Probation Population: 81,286
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 4
2001 Federal Drug Seizures
Cocaine: 388.3 kgs.
Heroin: 17.8 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 0.4 kgs.
Marijuana: 118.0 kgs.
Clandestine Laboratories: 1 (DEA, state, and local)

Maryland is situated on the north end of the mid-Atlantic region and bisected by Interstate-95. Drugs, weapons, and illicit proceeds destined for points south of New York City routinely transit the state through Baltimore. Maryland’s drug situation is complicated by the presence of two major metropolitan areas in the state: Baltimore and its surrounding counties in the northern part of the state, and the suburban counties of Washington, DC, in southern Maryland. In addition, Maryland’s major seaport in Baltimore contributes to a substantial amount of international drug traffic coming into the state. Baltimore is deeply affected by the heroin trade, having carried the dubious distinction as one of the most heroin-plagued cities in the nation for over a decade.

Cocaine: Cocaine and crack abuse and distribution pose a significant threat throughout the state of Maryland, particularly in cities situated near Washington, DC. Law enforcement sources in cities and towns located along the Eastern Shore and in western Maryland also cite crack cocaine as the primary drug threat in their areas. Violence continues to accompany the cocaine trade in the state. Wholesale levels of cocaine are readily available via suppliers in New York City and the southwestern U.S.

Heroin: Heroin is commonly abused throughout Maryland but is most problematic in and around the city of Baltimore. Baltimore boasts higher numbers of heroin addicts and heroin-related crime than almost any other city in the nation, and those problems tend to spill over into adjoining counties where many heroin distributors maintain residences. The enormous demand for heroin in the Baltimore metropolitan area led to an increase in the drug’s abuse among teens and young adults, who routinely drive into the city to obtain heroin for themselves and other local abusers. In the Baltimore metropolitan area, heroin is sold almost exclusively by street name and packaged in gelatin capsules. Highly pure heroin – “raw” – marketed toward suburban users is sometimes packaged in vials (much like crack cocaine).

maryland methamphetamine arrests Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is not in high demand nor is it widely available in Maryland. Although clandestine meth laboratories have been seized in the state in the past few years – one of which was large enough to receive classification by EPIC as a “super-lab” – the problem overall is minimal. Drug users in western Maryland, near West Virginia, and young adults involved in the cities’ rave scenes are the primary audiences for methamphetamine.

Club Drugs: Baltimore maintains a thriving “rave” and nightclub scene in which club drugs, usually Ecstasy (MDMA), are abused. Club drugs such as Ketamine, GHB and others do not carry the same demand nor availability as MDMA. Notable, however, are recent statements by law enforcement sources that MDMA has become a drug of choice among young, inner-city drug dealers in Baltimore and among young, primarily blue-collar individuals in the western part of the state.

Marijuana: The most widely-abused drug in Maryland, marijuana remains easily available in every part of the state. Low levels of marijuana cultivation occur in the state, primarily in western Maryland and along the Eastern Shore, where private farmland and public parkland are conducive to growers’ concerns for anonymity.

Other Drugs: OxyContin and Other Prescription Drug Diversion: Until recently, Maryland experienced high levels of pharmaceutical diversion primarily in association with Baltimore’s open-air drug markets. OxyContin, however, has become the drug of choice among pharmaceutical drug abusers. Maryland – particularly the city of Baltimore – is becoming a source area for Oxycontin abusers in Virginia and West Virginia, likely due to the enormous scrutiny the drug is under in those two states.

DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. There have been 359 deployments completed resulting in over 14,456 arrests of violent drug criminals as of April 1, 2002. There have been three MET deployments in the state of Maryland since the inception of the program: Baltimore, Annapolis, and Hagerstown. These deployments resulted in 133 arrests and the seizure of 5.6 pounds of cocaine, 9 pounds of crack cocaine, 0.4 pounds of heroin, and 3.1 pounds of marijuana. Also seized were 23 weapons, 6 vehicles, and over $358,000 in U.S. currency and property.

Special Topics: The Washington/Baltimore HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) supports and assists in the funding of a multi-agency enforcement task force and an Intelligence group in Washington, DC. In addition, the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department has its own Major Narcotics Branch, and other drug and violent crime-related enforcement operations in place.

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Maryland Drug Report Data Source: US Department of Justice, DEA