Meth and heroin now Washington's greatest drug threat
Heroin surpasses marijuana on 2014 ranking; meth contributes most to violent crimes

By Amy Randall-Vandenburg

For nearly a decade, methamphetamine and marijuana shared the title of Washington’s greatest drug threat. This year, Northwest HIDTA ranked methamphetamine and heroin as the state’s greatest drug threat. The changing climate of society’s attitude toward marijuana and the increasing population of heroin abusers have changed responses made by task forces to the Northwest HIDTA Threat Assessment Survey (Northwest HIDTA TAS) and altered the rankings.

According to law enforcement officials, methamphetamine contributes more than any other drug to violent crimes in Washington State. Methamphetamine is also ranked as the drug most prevalent in the state, coinciding with a consistent increase in youth treatment admissions for the drug over the past five years. Methamphetamine distributors are known to transport the drug in liquid form for better concealment and then create the finished, solid product in conversion labs
For the first time in Northwest HIDTA history, heroin is ranked as a greater drug threat to Washington than marijuana. Heroin is second only to methamphetamine for its prevalence and association with violent crime and property crimes, according to Northwest HIDTA Initiatives. Heroin use and treatment admissions are climbing among adults and data from the Public Health-Seattle & King County indicates that the majority of needle-exchange participants reported the drug they used most was heroin.

Some of the increase in heroin may be attributed to the reformulation of OxyContin in 2010, public awareness of prescription drug abuse and health care officials being vigilant to prevent doctor-shopping. Many heroin users are former prescription drug addicts looking for a cheaper and easier alternative to get high.
Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31
Love Yourself Be Drug Free
Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign sponsored by the National Family Partnership to educate youth and encorage participation in drug-free activities, is under way through Oct. 31.
Participants are encouraged to wear a red ribbon during the week to show their support and raise awareness in the battle against the destructive use of alcohol and other drugs.
During Red Ribbon Week schools and community groups typically organize a variety of activities including contests, workshops, rallies, theatrical and musical performances, and other family-centered and educational events.
More information about the Red Ribbon Campaign, including a comprehensive planning guide, a social media tool kit and information about a photo contest, can be downloaded from
Daily Marijuana Use at Highest Rate
Among College Students Since 1981: Study

(From Join Together)

Daily marijuana use is at the highest rate among college students since 1981, according to the national Monitoring The Future study. Last year, 5.1 percent of college students used marijuana daily or almost daily (20 or more times in the prior 30 days), up from 3.5 percent in 2007.
The study found in 2013, almost 36 percent of college students said they used marijuana in the past year, compared with 30 percent in 2006. The study found that overall, 39 percent of college students used illicit drugs in 2013, up from 34 percent in 2006. Read more at Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Talk to your teens
New tool kit provides advice for talking
to youth about risks of marijuana use

A new tool kit developed by the Washington Healthy Youth Coalition (formerly RUaD) is aimed at helping parents talk to middle and high school youth about marijuana use, which is still illegal in Washington state for those under 21.
The toolkit includes a parent's guide with tips for preventing underage use of marijuana, the warning signs of teen marijuana use, and how to get help if a teen is already using marijuana.  The guide discusses the health risks to adolescents when they use marijuana and gives parents clear steps on what they can do to help their children make the right choices. More information and a link where the resources can be downloaded is on the website.

Mentioned in the Media

Trick or Treat?
Seattle police warn parents to inspect kids' 
Halloween bounty for pot-laced edibles

Now that pot stores are legal in Washington, police say parents need to make sure marijuana-infused edibles don’t get into their kids’ hands, according to a report by Q13-Fox

At least 41 cities have banned
recreational marijuana shops
Elected leaders of at least 41 cities, including six in Snohomish County, and three counties have enacted prohibitions against wholesale and retail cannabis operations, according to a report filed on HeraldNet by columnist Jerry Cornfield.

Marijuana legal but often scarce in Washington state
Seattle's first (and until recently only) retail shop flies flag to alert customers on availability, a USA TODAY report by Trevor Hughes states. Washington's tough approach to regulating marijuana growers and retailers means only 60 marijuana-store licenses have been granted, and it's unclear exactly how many of them have actually opened for business. Read full article. 




National Substance Abuse Prevention Month


Office of National Drug Control Policy