Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Illegal drug use up in city, report says



By Ari Bloomekatz
Enquirer staff writer

Use of nearly every illegal drug increased in Cincinnati in the last half of last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network.

"Four to five years ago, use of pharmaceuticals was the big action (in Cincinnati), now we're seeing more of an infusion of heroin," said Harvey Siegal, director of the study and a researcher at Wright State University school of medicine.

The study is issued twice yearly and reports state drug trends. Researchers interview former and current drug users, police and workers who treat drug addicts. They also use statistics from county coroners, police agencies and drug treatment centers.

According to Tuesday's report, illegal use of methamphetamine, crack cocaine, the prescription painkiller Dilaudid and methadone has continued to climb in most cities statewide.

Researchers noted a decrease in use of the club drug Ecstasy, a drug traditionally used by young adults at nightclubs and during parties. But the drug continues to be readily available in the college town of Athens, the report said.

The use of the stimulant methamphetamine continues to rise in suburban areas and may be replacing Ecstasy as the drug of choice for young people, the report said.

Cincinnati's increases in the types of drugs used are similar to the state's other urban areas. Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Akron, and Youngstown also reported increases of heroin use among white youth and young adults. The study also reported that crack cocaine, pharmaceutical opiods and marijuana are increasingly available in most parts of the state.

E-mail abloomekatz@enquirer.com




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