Drug deaths increase, serious crime increases in parts of USA


Maine: Accidental drug-overdose deaths have reached record levels in Maine, with increases recorded in all parts of the state through 2004. These deaths represent a 20% increase over a record establish in 2001. The state is experiencing more cocaine overdoses, along with a continuing problem with heroin and prescription drugs.

Source: Portland Press Herald, Drug overdoses in Maine hit record levels June 10, 2005

Minnesota: Minneapolis law enforcement officials are seeing greatly increased amounts of marijuana in the city, that it may be a result of not only profitability, but lighter jail sentences (law allows 1½ ounces of marijuana [yields 60-75 ‘joints’] to receive a petty misdemeanor charge and a fine) and social acceptance in Minneapolis. In the three cases involving thousand-pound seizures, two of the dealers admitted bringing in more than 10,000 pounds a year before they were caught. Police are also seeing serious crime up 7.5% over the same period one year ago. It is also noted that the city has a growing demand for marijuana. 90% of the marijuana seen there comes from Mexico.

Source: Star Tribune (Minneapolis), September 4, 2005]

Oregon: The State Medical Examiner reported (March 2005) that drug-related deaths increased 4% during 2004, with the highest number of deaths (94) attributable to heroin, followed by methamphetamine at 78 deaths. Cocaine took 66 lives in 2004, giving this drug category the distinction of recording the greatest increase in number of deaths over 2003 when cocaine deaths were 53.

Source: State Medical Examiner Releases 2004 Drug-Related Deaths Statistics, 03/14/2005

Comment: These three news snippets from different parts of the USA show more drug use, lighter sentences, increased serious crime and increased deaths from drugs. Drug prevention and a less liberal attitude to possession of drugs might reverse these statistics.

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