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Washington is a state located in the Pacific Northwest on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Washington is the 18th most extensive and 13th most populous state in the nation. It is also the 2nd most populous state on the West Coast, with about 60% of the 6,724,540 state residents residing in the Seattle metro area. Seattle, Washington is a bustling hub of transportation, business and industry along the Puget Sound region of the Salish Sea with the remainder of the state consisting mainly of rainforests and mountain ranges.

In the Pacific Northwest region, Washington ranks first in terms of population. According to the most recent census information collected, 77% of the states residents are White, 11% are Hispanic or Latino, 7% are Asian, 4% are Black, 1.5% are Native American, and 5% are two or more races. The largest ancestry groups are German, Irish, English, Mexican, and Norwegian.

Washington Drug Use Trends

Located in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State is a leader in the production of lumber and has several manufacturing industries including aircraft and missiles. The state's geography varies with a number of mountain ranges, volcanoes, coastal areas, rain forests, and arid deserts. A majority of Washington's residents choose to reside in the Seattle metropolitan area with easy access to transportation, commerce, and industry. Over the years problems with alcohol and drug addiction has continued to be a problem in Washington. Studies conducted in 2013 revealed a large number of young adults have begun to abuse and become addicted to heroin. The study also showed an increase in drug-caused deaths resulting from methamphetamine use.


Heroin addiction has become a widespread problem in Washington. Law enforcement noted that heroin was the most common substance seized during the first half of 2013. Additionally, 22.6% of all drug reports during the first part of 2013 referenced heroin. Washington drug rehab programs enrolled 5,297 individuals struggling with heroin addiction during 2013. This made up 15.8% of all Washington drug rehab admissions during that year. The largest age group to receive heroin addiction treatment in Washington during 2013 was between the ages of 21-25 years old (26% of all individuals receiving heroin addiction treatment). With the high number of young adults struggling with heroin addiction in Washington, concerns for resident's mortality are growing. An increase in the number of drug-caused deaths involving heroin have escalated from 32 deaths during the first part of 2011, up to 43 deaths in the first half of 2012, and then to 50 drug-caused deaths involving heroin during the first part of 2013.


Methamphetamine remains a problem in Washington. A majority of the meth in Washington is smuggled in from Mexico. However, local drug suppliers still operate clandestine meth labs throughout the state and in 2012 the Department of Ecology cleaned up 84 clandestine drug labs. These drug lab cleanups create a number of health hazards. Individuals residing in a meth lab or those designated to cleanup clandestine drug labs are prone to cancer as well as damage to their brain, liver and kidneys. During 2013, over 5,000 individuals enrolled in Washington drug rehab centers for meth addiction. This portion of Washington State drug rehab enrollments made up 15.3% of all treatment admissions that year. The largest age group to receive drug rehab treatment for meth addiction during 2013 in Washington was between the ages of 26-30 years old. As meth addiction remains a problem in Washington the number of drug-caused deaths involving methamphetamine rises. During the first half of 2013 there were 21 meth related deaths in Washington, up from 7 meth related deaths during the first part of 2011 in the state.

Washington State Drug Trends

  • During 2013, over 8,000 individuals enrolled in Washington drug rehab programs for problems with alcohol and a secondary substance.
  • The largest age group to receive treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in Washington during 2013 was between the ages of 12-17 years old (15.7% of all enrollments).
  • Washington crime lab chemists noted the dangerous adulterant Levamisole in many samples claiming to be cocaine. This adulterant can cause neutropenia, agranulocytosis, arthralgias, retiform purpura and skin necrosis, fever and neutropenia.
  • Between January and June 2013 Oxycodone drug related deaths exceeded Methadone drug-caused deaths.
  • Marijuana is a prevalent drug threat in Washington causing 7,427 individuals to enroll in Washington drug rehab programs for marijuana addiction treatment during 2013.
  • 53.2% of all marijuana addiction drug rehab enrollments in Washington State during 2013 were between the ages of 12-17 years old.

Drug Rehab in Washington State

Due to the alcohol and drug problem in Washington the State Legislature and Federal Government has increased access to drug rehabilitation programs for residents looking for treatment. The Federal Government gave over one-hundred and thirty million dollars in federal government grants to Washington State to handle the drug problem, diversify treatment options for residents and create successful inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs. Today, there are numerous options for residents struggling with substance addiction looking for rehabilitation services. The funding Washington State has received from the Federal Government has lead to an increase in residential and inpatient programs throughout the state. As the first choice in overcoming alcohol and drug addiction, long-term residential and inpatient drug rehab programs have the highest success rates due to:

  • A supportive drug-free environment during recovery
  • Safe withdrawal and detox services monitored by medical professionals
  • Access to staff members around the clock to aid recovering individuals
  • The length of time one remains in long-term drug rehab provides them with the ability to fully withdrawal, address their addiction and develop the skills necessary to remain clean and sober
Washington Drug Statistics
Population in Washington: 6,375,600
State Prison Population in Washington: 17,914
Probation Population in Washington: 125,222
Violent Crime Rate in Washington:
National Ranking: 27
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Washington:
Cocaine seizures in Washington: 571.7 kgs.
Heroin seizures in Washington: 39.9 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Washington: 90.3 kgs.
Marijuana seizures in Washington: 1,575.9 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Washington: 0.2 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Washington: 262.8 kgs./1,230,370 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Washington: 122
(DEA, Washington, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Washington:

  • Washington shares a border with Canada, and is a transshipment point for drugs and monies entering Canada, as well as Canadian marijuana (street name BC Bud), MDMA (street name Ecstasy) and other drugs entering the United States.
  • Crystal methamphetamine is broadly available in Washington and distributed by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
  • The greater Yakima Valley in Washington is host to large scale drug trafficking organizations responsible for the distribution of drugs throughout the United States.
  • Money laundering and bulk cash smuggling are additional problems in Washington, with organizations engaging in a variety of methods to legitimize and reposition illicit proceeds.

  • Cocaine and crack cocaine are readily available in Washington.
  • Crack cocaine is found mostly in low income, urban areas of Washington.
  • Wholesale amounts of cocaine HCl in Washington are primarily controlled by Mexican drug organizations. These organizations, with connections to large scale traffickers in California and Mexico, are the groups primarily responsible for cocaine destined for Washington.
  • Cocaine is consumed in Washington and smuggled into Canada for redistribution.

  • The most common type of heroin found in Washington is Mexican black tar heroin.
  • Mexican drug trafficking organizations, which also traffic methamphetamine and cocaine, are the main source of black tar heroin in Washington.
  • Black tar heroin is produced in Mexico and transported from distribution cities in southern California directly to western and eastern Washington.

  • Methamphetamine is a severely abused drug in Washington and one which impacts all levels of the community.
  • Crystal methamphetamine (aka "ice") dominates the market, is the preferred form of methamphetamine, and is easily available throughout Washington.
  • Mexican drug trafficking organizations are responsible for the importation and distribution of methamphetamine in Washington, most of which is now produced in Mexico.
  • Clandestine methamphetamine lab activity within Washington has been declining over the years. This is likely due to state and federal legislation, which has hindered accessibility to chemicals such as pseudoephedrine.
  • There were 122 meth lab incidents in Washington in 2007.

  • MDMA (4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is transported into Washington mainly from Canada.
  • Escalating bulk shipment incidents reported at the U.S./Canada border illustrate the growing popularity of MDMA and the efforts of drug trafficking organizations to use Washington as a transshipment point for MDMA loads destined for Seattle and various U.S. locations.
  • The manufacture of MDMA within Canada is noted to have increased, and MDMA laboratory activity has also been encountered in Washington.
  • Other synthetic drugs such as GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), and 5-MeO-DIPT (5-methoxy-n, ndiisopropyltryptamine/street name Foxy) have been found but on a smaller scale in Washington.

  • Marijuana is readily available throughout Washington.
  • Three types of marijuana are typically encountered in Washington: locally grown (either from indoor or outdoor grow operations), Canadian BC Bud from British Columbia, and Mexican marijuana. Of these varieties, locally grown sinsemilla and BC Bud are preferred due to their higher THC content.
  • BC Bud marijuana is available in Washington, particularly in the larger cities, which also serve as major transshipment points for BC Bud distributed throughout the United States.
  • The outdoor cultivation of marijuana by Mexican nationals on private land as well as Washington State and federal forest lands and parks is on the rise.

  • Pharmacy burglaries are occur routinely throughout Washington and Diversion Investigators are also encountering pharmaceuticals that have been purchased via the Internet without a doctor's prescription.
  • The abuse and trafficking of oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab), and anabolic steroids continues to be a problem in Washington, while Methadone use has increased dramatically in the state..

  • There were 760 drug violation arrests in Washington in 2007.
  • State Policy Offices : Washington

    • Governor's Office Office of the Governor
      Legislative Building, Room AS-13
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 753-6780
    • State Legislative Contact Office of Program Research
      House of Representatives
      House Office Building, Room 230
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 786-7102
    • State Drug Program Coordinator Insurance Building, Fourth Floor
      Mail Stop AQ-44
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 586-0827

    State Criminal Justice Offices : Washington

    • Attorney General's Office Office of the Attorney General
      P.O. Box 40100
      Olympia, WA 98504-0100
      (206) 753-6200
    • Crime Prevention Offices Washington State Criminal Justice Commission
      Washington Crime Watch
      2450 South 142d Street
      Seattle, WA 98168
      (206) 764-4301
    • Washington State Crime Prevention Association 1920 West Dry Creek Road
      Ellensburg, WA 98926
      (509) 925-2280
    • Statistical Analysis Center Office of Financial Management
      Information and Forecasting Services
      Insurance Building
      P.O. Box 43113
      Olympia, WA 98504-3113
      (206) 586-2501
    • Uniform Crime Reports Contact Uniform Crime Reporting Program
      Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs
      P.O. Box 826
      Olympia, WA 98507
      (206) 586-3221
    • BJA Strategy Preparation Agency State Department of Community Development
      906 Columbia Street SW
      P.O. Box 48300
      Olympia, WA 98504-8300
      (206) 586-0487
    • Judicial Agency Office of Administrator for the Courts
      206 South Quince Street
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 753-5780
    • Corrections Agency Department of Corrections
      Capital Center Building
      410 West Fifth Street
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 753-2500

    State Health Offices : Washington

    • RADAR Network Agency Washington State Substance Abuse Coalition
      14700 Main Street
      Bellevue, WA 98007
      (206) 747-9111
    • HIV-Prevention Program HIV-AIDS Office of Prevention and Education Services
      Airdustrial Park, Building 9
      P.O. Box 47840
      Olympia, WA 98504-7840
      (206) 586-0426
    • Drug and Alcohol Agency Bureau of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
      Office Building Two
      12th Avenue and Franklin Street
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 753-5866

    State Education Office : Washington

    • State Coordinator for Drug-Free Schools Department of Public Instruction
      Substance Abuse Education
      Old Capitol Building, MS/FG-11
      Olympia, WA 98504
      (206) 753-5595

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    Drug Rehab and Treatment Facts Washington

    • In 2004, 63.5% of those in addiction treatment located in Washington were male.
    • 36.5% of the individuals in drug addiction treatment residing in Washington during 2004 were female.
    • The largest age group admitted into to drug rehab during 2004 in Washington was between the ages of 41-45 (14%).
    • The second largest age group attending drug rehabilitation in Washington during 2004 were between the ages of 36-40 (13.5%).
    • 70.6% of the individuals in drug treatment located in Washington during 2004 were Caucasian.

    Drug Facts

    Given the unknown impact of crack preparation practices on the risks for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, crack injection may be an important factor in the current HIV epidemic. While drug users have been injecting crack as early as 1990, crack injection is a hidden practice since few research studies or drug treatment providers ask injectors specifically about injecting crack. The fact that both young and older injectors initiated crack injection throughout the 1990s - increasingly in the late 1990s among this sample - indicates that crack injection remains an emerging practice that may expose new cohorts of injectors to infectious diseases. These findings suggest that HIV service providers, outreach workers, and researchers should ask crack users about mode of administration since smoking is generally assumed. Without more detailed inquiries into the modes of administrating crack, crack injection is likely to remain a largely hidden practice. Consequently, IDUs who inject crack will fail to be identified and targeted for interventions designed to reduce the risk of transmitting bloodborne pathogens and other harms associated with preparation practices particular to crack injection.
    Physical abuse is also likely when parents are high on methamphetamine. Common effects such as irritability or paranoia can lead to violence towards children in the home, which is made even more dangerous when guns or other weapons are present. In an attempt to prevent police or drug manufacturing competitors from discovering and destroying a methamphetamine laboratory, rooms may by booby trapped. Although the intent is to ward off law enforcement or competitors, booby trapping rooms is an obvious risk for children, as well as workers who enter the home. Child welfare practitioners need to be cautious in approaching a home where it is known that parents are using and look for the presence of guns or weapons to assess the safety of the situation.
    For America's children and teens, marijuana is a dangerous drug. The extent of the danger and the most effective way to keep our youngsters from using this drug are matters for teens, parents, schools, churches, communities and public policy makers.
    In the 1980s, cocaine production in the Andean countries of Peru, BOLIVIA, and COLOMBIA expanded significantly into nontraditional growing zones (the Bolivian Chapare region and Peruvian Upper Huallaga Valley, or UHV), augmenting the more traditional licit production areas of the Bolivian Yungas and Peruvian Cuzco regions. In the early 1980s, U.S. demand for Mexican marijuana decreased dramatically, because of consumer concernabout Mexico's drug-elimination program, where marijuana was sprayed with the herbicide paraquat, some of which is reported to have killed U.S. users. Consequently, Colombia replaced Mexico as the preferred source of high quality marijuana. Colombia and Guatemala also began to cultivate substantial amounts of opium in the early 1990s.

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