Revised February 2014
National Forensic Laboratory Information System and Treatment Admission Data for Albuquerque and New Mexico—Update: January 2014
James W. Davis, M.A.
Overview of Findings: The key findings in the first half of 2013 in Albuquerque and New Mexico were continuing high level of heroin reports among drug items seized and analyzed by National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) laboratories, and increasing numbers and proportions of both primary methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admissions in 2012 and methamphetamine drug reports among items analyzed in NFLIS laboratories in the first half of 2013. Heroin and prescription opioids/opiates other than heroin were overtaken in primary treatment admissions data by methamphetamine/amphetamines and marijuana in this period, but this could be an issue of reporting. Albuquerque NFLIS data for January–June 2013 showed disproportionately high proportions of heroin and methamphetamine drug reports among total reports, compared with national data. The proportion of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admissions increased from 2010 to 2012, and methamphetamine drug reports among items seized and analyzed by NFLIS laboratories increased in the first half of 2013 (January–June) from the same period in 2012. Percentages of marijuana/cannabis drug reports among drug items increased in Albuquerque in the first half of 2013 from the first half of 2012, but they were lower than the national data. Treatment admissions in which marijuana was the primary drug problem increased as a percentage of all admissions in 2012 from 2010. The proportion of drug reports for cocaine in the Albuquerque area were found to be lower than the national data, and they decreased in the first half of 2013 from the first half of 2012. Primary cocaine treatment admissions also declined from 2010 to 2012.
Updated Drug Abuse Trends and Emerging Patterns
Marijuana/Cannabis: According to NFLIS data, 259 drug reports for marijuana/cannabis were identified among drug items analyzed in Albuquerque NFLIS laboratories during the first half of 2013. Marijuana/cannabis constituted 25.2 percent of all Albuquerque drug reports in that period, compared with 32.0 percent nationwide. As a percentage of all NFLIS reports, marijuana/cannabis was up considerably in the first half of 2013, from 19.1 percent of drug reports in the first half of 2012. Marijuana/cannabis tied with methamphetamine for the highest number of drug reports among analyzed drug items in Albuquerque. In 2012, there were 577 admissions to State-funded substance abuse treatment facilities in New Mexico in which marijuana was listed as the primary substance abuse problem, according to the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). This represented 8.7 percent of all admissions with a specified primary substance in the State for that year; this was an increase from 7.7 percent of all admissions in 2010. In 2012, there was a higher proportion of primary marijuana treatment admissions among clients age 21–25 than for any other age category, with 28.1 percent. Males constituted 72.6 percent of these admissions in 2012, and Hispanic admissions constituted 50.3 percent.
Cocaine: There were 134 cocaine drug reports among drug items seized and analyzed by NFLIS laboratories in Albuquerque during the first half of 2013. This number represented 13.0 percent of all Albuquerque drug reports (compared with 14.9 percent of total drug reports nationwide and 16.8 percent in the first half of 2012). In 2012, cocaine was listed as the primary substance abuse problem in 71 State-funded treatment admissions in 2012. Cocaine declined from 3.7 percent of treatment admissions with a specified primary substance abuse problem in 2010, to 1.1 percent in 2012. Crack cocaine constituted 50.7 percent of these admissions. Males represented 41.7 percent of crack cocaine admissions, compared with 80.0 percent of other cocaine admissions. The highest proportion of treatment admissions for crack cocaine occurred among clients age 26–30, with 33.3 percent of such admissions. For other cocaine, the highest proportions were among clients age 21–25 and 36–40, with 20.0 percent in each age group.
Heroin: Among items seized and analyzed by NFLIS during the first half of 2013, a total of 218 drug reports were identified as heroin. This represented 21.2 percent of all Albuquerque reports, compared with 9.9 percent nationwide; it was a slight decrease from 22.1 percent in the first half of 2012. According to TEDS, there were 374 treatment admissions statewide in 2012 in which heroin was listed as the primary substance abuse problem; this constituted 5.7 percent of all State-funded treatment admissions with a specified primary substance abuse problem and represented a decrease from 7.3 percent of total admissions in 2010. In 2012, males represented 58.6 percent of primary heroin admissions. Whites constituted 88.2 percent of primary heroin admissions, and 72.7 percent were Hispanics. The 21–25 age group constituted the highest proportion of primary heroin admissions in 2012; this proportion was closely followed by 22.5 percent in the 26–30 age group.
Methamphetamine: There were 259 methamphetamine drug reports among drug items seized and analyzed by NFLIS laboratories in Albuquerque during the first half of 2013. This represented 25.2 percent of all Albuquerque drug reports, compared with 14.2 percent of drug reports nationally. Such drug reports rose in the current reporting period in Albuquerque from 17.5 percent of drug reports in the first half of 2012. In 2012, there were 719 treatment admissions in which methamphetamine/amphetamine was listed as the primary substance abuse problem. Primary amphetamine admissions constituted 10.9 percent of all admissions with a specified primary substance abuse problem reported; this represented an increase from 9.1 percent of all admissions in 2010. The highest proportion of primary amphetamine admissions occurred among the 31–35 age group; 51.3 percent of these admissions were male; 87.1 percent were White; and 42.8 percent were of Hispanic ethnicity.
Prescription Opioids/Opiates Other Than Heroin: Forty prescription opioid pain relievers were identified among analyzed drug items in Albuquerque NFLIS laboratories during the first half of 2013. These reports represented 3.9 percent of total drug reports in Albuquerque, compared with 8.2 percent for the United States. In 2012, there were 284 treatment admissions in which “other opiates” were listed as the primary substance abuse problem; “other opiates” represented 4.3 percent of all treatment admissions in 2012, compared with 5.1 percent in 2010. In 2012, 49.6 percent of these admissions were male; 79.9 percent were White; and 64.8 percent were Hispanic. Clients age 21–25 represented the largest proportion of admissions in which the primary substance abuse problem listed was “other opiates.”
Data Sources: Treatment data through 2012 (the most recent data available) are from the TEDS data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Data for 2012, as of January 6, 2014, are available at http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/webt/quicklink/NM12.htm. Comparison data for 2010 are available at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/TEDS2010/TEDS2010StWeb.pdf. Note that data in this report may differ from data reported in the June 2013 Highlights and Executive Summary Report due to different draw down dates from the TEDS Web site. Proportions of drugs in relation to total treatment admissions reported in this report include unknowns while data reported in the June 2013 report exclude unknowns. Crime laboratory data for the first halves of 2012 and 2013 were provided by NFLIS, Drug Enforcement Administration.
For inquiries regarding this report, please contact James W. Davis, M.A., Drug Epidemiologist, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 St. Francis Drive, P.O. Box 26110, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Phone: 505–827–5424, Fax: 505–827–2796, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.