"Virtually all drug courts (98%) reported that at least some of their participants were opioid-dependent in 2010. Prescription opioids were more frequently cited as the primary opioid problem than heroin (66% vs. 26%). This trend is particularly apparent in less densely populated areas: prescription versus heroin rates across the three population areas were: rural (76% vs. 12%), suburban (67% vs. 33%), and urban (prescription opioids less likely to be selected than heroin as the primary opioid; 38% vs. 50%); p < .01.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers [CEA] released its analysis of the economic costs of illegal opioid use, related overdoses, and overdose mortality in November 2017. It reported a dramatically higher estimate than previous analyses, largely due to a change in methodology. Previous analyses had used a person's estimated lifetime earnings to place a dollar value on that person's life.
"After four straight years of increases, in 2016, urine testing positivity for heroin, indicated by the presence of the 6-acetylmorphine (6-AM) metabolite, held steady in the general U.S. workforce and declined slightly among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers.
"Amphetamines (which includes amphetamine and methamphetamine) positivity continued its year-over-year upward trend, increasing more than eight percent in urine testing in both the general U.S. and federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforces compared to 2015. Throughout the last decade, this rise has been driven primarily by amphetamine use which includes certain prescription drugs such as Adderall®.
"During 2012-15, U.S. residents experienced 5.8 million violent victimizations per year (table 1). About 3.7 million of these violent victimizations were committed against white victims.3 Among white victims, a higher percentage of victimizations were committed by white offenders (57%) than offenders of any other race. White victims perceived the offender to be black in 15% of violent victimizations and Hispanic in 11%.4
" As they did in fiscal year 2010, Hispanic offenders continued to represent the largest group of offenders (51.9%) convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty in fiscal year 2016. However, other demographic data has shifted.
" In fiscal year 2016, offenders convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty were nearly twice as likely to have provided substantial assistance to the government as those not convicted of such an offense (29.8% compared to 15.2%).
" More than half (51.6%) of offenders convicted of an offense carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty received relief at sentencing.
" In fiscal year 2016, 21.8 percent of offenders convicted of a drug mandatory minimum penalty qualified for relief under the safety valve, 21.5 percent received relief for providing substantial assistance, and 8.2 percent received relief for both safety valve and substantial assistance.
" While some legislative history leading up to passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 suggests that “major” traffickers would be subject to the ten-year drug mandatory minimum penalty and “serious” traffickers would be subject to the five-year penalty, they often apply to offenders who perform relatively low level functions. For example, nearly one-third (32.2%) of Couriers and more than one-quarter of Mules (25.4%) were convicted of such offenses.
"Convictions for offenses carrying a drug mandatory minimum penalty were more likely to involve the use of a weapon, as evidenced by the application of a guideline enhancement for having a weapon involved in the offense (17.4% in fiscal year 2016 compared to 12.5% in fiscal year 2010) or a conviction for a firearms offense carrying a mandatory minimum (5.4% in fiscal year 2016 compared to 5.1% in fiscal year 2010).