2016 National Drug Threat Assessment

2000px-US-DrugEnforcementAdministration-Seal.svgThe Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has released a summary of the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) that describes the effect of illicit drugs on the United States of America. The NDTA provides an evaluation of the numerous challenges local communities face by the trafficking and abuse of illicit and prescription drugs.

After discussing the various Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) that equip illicit substance to distributors and users in the U.S., the NDTA highlights the ongoing opioid epidemic. Opioids, specifically fentanyl and a related compound carfentanil, have led to an increasing amount of overdoses across the nation. Other highlights include usage and trafficking trends in heroin, prescription drugs, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

Additional findings from the NDTA include:

  • “While there is evidence of a slight decline in the abuse levels of controlled prescription drugs, data indicates an increase in the seizure of counterfeit prescription drugs (many of which contain the extremely potent substance fentanyl).”
  • “Heroin overdose deaths are high across the U.S., particularly in the Northeast and Midwest.  Nationally, overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014, with the most recent available data reporting 10,574 people in the United States died in 2014 from heroin overdoses.”
  • “Deaths in the ‘synthetic opioids’ category rose 79% from 3,097 in 2013 to 5,544 in 2014. While other opioids are included in this category, public health officials maintain that fentanyl is contributing to most of this increase. Fentanyl is sometimes added to heroin batches, or mixed with other adulterants and sold as counterfeit heroin, unknown to the user.”
  • “Methamphetamine continues to be readily available throughout the U.S., and methamphetamine distribution and use continues to contribute to violent and property crime in the U.S.”
  • “Cocaine availability and use in the U.S. increased across multiple fronts between 2014 and 2015 and is likely to continue increasing in the near term.”

The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) database contains updated data, publications, and resources from various law enforcement agencies which can be easily located through our Research Tools tab. Furthermore, policy recommendations and yearly assessments can be located at the HSDL Policy and Strategy Documents tab. (Some materials may require HSDL login.)