Northwest NEWS

January 1,2001


Summary of 2000 drug trends in King County

A report issued by Public Health - Seattle & King County indicates that heroin continues to be the drug with the largest impact on area residents. Additionally, cocaine use locally has shown resurgence, while methamphetamine and marijuana use remained stable. The report also includes a special section on club drugs.
   To read the full December 2000 Drug Trends Report, visit Public Health's Website at
   "Let's keep in sight that we're dealing with more than statistics," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "Drug users are citizens from all walks of life, and we need to continue to advance in our prevention and treatment efforts."
   "There is no way we can be satisfied with these results," said Dr. Alonzo Plough, director of Public Health - Seattle & King County. "Heroin use has stabilized at high levels that we need to decrease. Also, a new concern is the resurgence in cocaine use, which follows several years of decline."
   Key findings from the December 2000 Drug Trends report include:
   * Heroin use and heroin-related deaths have stabilized at high levels.
   * Cocaine use, as well as cocaine-related deaths, is rising.
   * Marijuana use remains unchanged.
   * Methamphetamine use appears stable in King County, but is on an upward trend in other, more rural, areas of Washington state.
   The December 2000 Drug Trends Report also includes a special report on club drugs.
   "We should pay more attention to club drugs - hallucinogens and inhalants - that appear to be especially prevalent among adolescents and young adults in the dance party and nightclub scenes," said Plough.
   Key findings on club drugs include:
   * A recent study conducted in a local drug treatment program revealed that 30 percent of patients aged 14 to 24 reported using MDMA ("ecstasy") in the last six months.
   * The use of these drugs (like MDMA, LSD and PCP, among others) is present not only at dance parties and club scenes, but also in other recreational and social settings.
   * Many users tend to experiment or use a variety of club drugs in combination.
   Public Health takes three approaches to address drug-use problems.
   1) Prevention, for example, providing education and early intervention for children and youth to keep them from trying heroin and other drugs.
   2) Harm reduction, for example, providing needle exchange services for heroin users to help them avoid HIV and other infections and to facilitate entry into drug treatment programs.
   3) Treatment, for example, making treatment for heroin addicts more accessible through "Mobile Methadone" services (per a grant from the federal government).