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Pennsylvania is associated with abuse of heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Smuggling and drug trafficking into the state remains at a high level. Locally produced marijuana, secret methamphetamine laboratories and thefts of prescription pain medications continue to plague the state and pose a challenge to law enforcement and the medical profession. The ban of ephedrine has only made a dent in the growth of methamphetamine laboratories in the state. Young women in Pennsylvania are the demographic abusing methamphetamine.

Philadelphia is the center for drug distribution throughout the state. Gangs control much of the drug supply and, as a result, violence and crime has increased. The rise of teenagers overdosing has resulted in law enforcement stepping up their efforts to combat the problem. Pennsylvania has one of the toughest laws in the United States as it relates to drug trafficking.

Cocaine use has not decreased in Pennsylvania, despite the higher price and decreased potency of the product. The cocaine market is big business in Pennsylvania. In the inner cities, the use of crack cocaine often goes hand in hand with alcohol abuse and heroin abuse. Hospital admissions and deaths from overdoses are on the rise in the state.

Heroin is easily available throughout Pennsylvania. Heroin abuse is almost at epidemic proportions in the state, especially in the cities. The drug is stronger and costs less than other drugs. The ban of ephedrine has not made much of a difference to methamphetamine production and abuse in Pennsylvania. Methamphetamine is popular because of its longer lasting high and low price.

The popularity of club drugs are on the rise in Pennsylvania. The most abused club drug is MDMA (ecstasy), but GHB, LSD, PCP and ketamine are also used, especially by teenagers and college students. The club drugs are brought into Pennsylvania by Russian Israelis, Europeans and Chinese immigrants. The drugs are cheap which means that they are accessible to young people. Much of the supply of MDMA (ecstasy) comes into Pennsylvania from Canada.

The abuse of prescription drugs – OxyContin, Vicodin, Fentanyl, valium, soma, Lortab and Percocet – is rapidly increasing throughout the state. Illlegal sales, forced prescriptions and “doctor shopping” is making the control a challenge for law enforcement and the medical profession.

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