184352 Drug purity, morbidity, and violence in Arizona and their relation to the Mexico border

Monday, October 27, 2008: 8:48 AM

James K. Cunningham, PhD , College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Arizona faces particularly challenging issues associated with illicit drugs due in part to its extensive, porous border with Mexico. This presentation examines three of these issues. First, it begins by using data from the Drug Enforcement Administration's STRIDE system to compare methamphetamine purity in Arizona to methamphetamine purity in states that do not border Mexico. The findings indicate that Arizona has relatively high purity, a possible consequence of the state's key role in the trafficking of methamphetamine from Mexico. Second, the presentation uses data from the Arizona Hospital Discharge Data System to examine methamphetamine-related and cocaine-related hospital admissions (indicators of morbidity) in Arizona (including Phoenix, Tucson¯the largest city in southern Arizona, and the state's rural regions). Findings from this analysis indicate that regions throughout Arizona have pronounced methamphetamine admission rates. However, Tucson's hospital admissions rate for cocaine exceeds both its methamphetamine rate and the state's methamphetamine rate by more than 200%. A possible explanation rests with Tucson's historic role as a cocaine portal for the United States. Finally, the presentation will conclude with an assessment of data on drug-related violence in Arizona. This last analysis will focus on recent rises in kidnappings, a possible spillover effect related to trafficking from Mexico.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe methamphetamine purity as it relates to the Arizona/Mexico border 2. Identify regions in Arizona that may be especially impacted by the trafficking of cocaine from Mexico 3. Discuss possible trends in violence in Arizona related to trafficking from Mexico

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Area of Research Expertise
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.