Drug Trends Reports and Trainings


Substance Abuse Trends In Texas: August 2016 (PDF)


  • Methamphetamine indicators are higher than before the pseudoephedrine ban in 2007–2008. The DEA El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) reported seizures of methamphetamine increased by 37% between 2013 and 2015 and it is ranked as the #1 drug threat in the DEA Dallas are and #2 in Houston. The methamphetamine made in Mexico using the P2P process is increasingly pure and more potent with more reports by Texas outreach workers of use by men who have sex with men and high-risk heterosexuals with increases in HIV and syphilis. The HIV mode of exposure among men who have sex with men is at the same level in 2015 (70% of all cases as it was in 1988 when data on mode of exposure were first collected.
  • The novel psychoactive substances/synthetics situation is mixed, marked by sporadic clusters of overdoses, which may be a result of amateur chemists mixing the drugs or bad batches of precursor chemicals. The number of poison calls for synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones peaked in 2014. The chemical ingredients of cannabinoids have changed from JWH varieties to AB-CHMINACA and XLR-11. The number of phenethylamines identified continues to increase. The primary synthetic cathinones in 2015 was ethylone. A growing problem is PCP-like reactions to the synthetic drugs; the analog producing these reactions is not yet identified.
  • Heroin users are younger and less likely to be people of color. Indicators of deaths and poison center calls continued to rise, but seizures along the Texas–Mexico border decreased 10%. Nevertheless, the DEA reported Mexican opium production is increasing to sustain the increasingly high levels of demand in the United States. “Other opiate” indicators are trending downward as a result of rescheduling of hydrocodone. Oxycodone is less of a problem than hydrocodone and it has remained stable, as have buprenorphine and methadone numbers. Oxycodone numbers are not as consistent in terms of trending, but its use is much lower than for hydrocodone. Fentanyl abuse and misuse in Texas traditionally involved the transdermal patches, but new rogue fentanyl powder began appearing in spring 2016. New synthetic opioids such as UR-47700 also began appearing.
  • The cannabis situation has been influenced by both supply and demand. Supply from Mexico has decreased, with increases instead occurring in the use of home-grown and hydroponic methods and the availability of high-quality cannabis from Colorado. The demand for the drug has been influenced by changes in patterns of use with blunts and now electronic cigarettes and the “vaping” of hash oil and “shatter.”
  • PCP remains as a problem. The number of PCP items identified by forensic labs peaked in 2014 at 1052 and dropped to 766 in 2015, which may reflect the characteristics exhibited by many individuals who needed hospital care had taken “K-2” OR “Spice” and they exhibited the classic PCP signs but the forensic tests did not indicate the presence of PCP. Some N-BOMe analogs that have not been identified may be mimicking the PCP behaviors.
  • Cocaine indicators continue to trend downward, but this may be changing. Availability is high, but the source has been unstable as a result of cartel wars, with the amounts seized at the Texas–Mexico border down 17% between 2013 and 2015. However, UNODC has reported an increase of almost 40 per cent in the Colombian coca crop acreage between 2014 2015. The Houston DEA Field Division reported that the flow of cocaine appeared to be rising at the end of 2015. Texas street outreach workers are reporting increased popularity of powder cocaine.
  • Benzodiazepine indicators have remained fairly stable over the last two years. Alprazolam is the most abused benzodiazepine.

Previous trends (all in PDF): June 2015June 2014June 2013June 2012June 2011June 2010June 2009June 2008June 2007January 2006June 2006January 2005June 2005June 2004June 2003December 2003June 2002December 2002June 2001December 2001June 2000December 2000June 1999December 1999June 1998December 1998June 1997December 1997June 1996December 1996June 1995December 1995.


Substance Use Reports and Trainings