"This report provides a strategic overview of the illicit drug situation in the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), highlighting significant trends and law enforcement concerns relating to the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs. The report was prepared through detailed analysis of recent law enforcement reporting, information obtained through interviews with law enforcement and public health officials, and available statistical data. It is designed to provide policymakers, resource planners, and law enforcement officials with a focused discussion of key drug issues and developments facing the New England HIDTA region. Prescription narcotics abuse has spread among the New England drug abuser population and, in part, has fueled an increasing heroin problem in New England; chronic prescription narcotics abusers often switch to heroin because of its lower price. Methadone, a synthetic opiate used to treat heroin abuse and chronic pain, has become the leading cause of drug-related deaths in Maine and New Hampshire. Methadone is periodically prescribed by unscrupulous physicians to abusers who are seeking OxyContin (oxycodone); when abusers try to achieve an OxyContin-like high with methadone, which is not physiologically possible, they sometimes use excessive amounts of the drug and accidentally overdose. Asian drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are establishing increasing numbers of hydroponically grown cannabis operations within the New England HIDTA region to avoid the risks associated with transporting the drug across the U.S.-Canada border. Crack cocaine distribution is increasing in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as Massachusetts-based street gangs travel to these states to expand their distribution markets."
United States Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center: http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/