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Pennsylvania is a multifaceted state that always provides a pleasant surprise. In one sense, it is defined by iconic quiet towns and rolling hills, yet in another, it is firmly defined by excellence as clearly displayed through sports teams such as the Pirates, Eagles and the Steelers. You won’t find more dedicated fans. And the food? Incredible is an understatement. Pennsylvania is an idyllic state, but drug addiction and alcoholism still looms in the shadows. The impact of chemical dependency may seem difficult to bear, but luckily there is hope. Contact Palm Partners Detox and Rehab for effective, gratifying recovery.Our staff will develop a program just for you to help you overcome your chemical dependency. A specialist is standing by and waiting for your call. Don’t hesitate – we are always delighted to assist

Data shows that Pennsylvanians for the most part are receiving the drug and alcohol detox they need. But if you’re using and need immediate help, call Palm Partners Addiction Detox and Rehab now: 215-809-3032. Get into the right facility and transform your life. Our professionals are standing by, 24/7.

What you should know

Heroin, cocaine and marijuana are the most available, popular, used and trafficked drugs in Pennsylvania. Various Hispanic and African-American networks scattered throughout the state dominate trafficking and distribution. These groups distribute drugs that are either transported into Pennsylvania via various transshipment locations or are shipped directly to Philadelphia as well as to other localities.

Drugs are shipped in vehicles, public transportation, airline luggage and freight and parcel parcels. Philadelphia’s street corner distribution networks remain active. Distributors in some smaller cities and towns often travel to New York or to lower-level distribution points other than Philadelphia to purchase large quantities to sell retail.

Compared to other states

  • Illicit drugs overall – moderately low for those 18 and older
  • Cocaine – moderately high for those 26 and older, average for those 18-25
  • Pharmaceuticals – moderately low for those 26 and older, low for those 18-25
  • Marijuana – moderately low for those 18-25, low for those 26 and older
  • Alcohol – low for those 18 and older

Source: SAMHSA’s most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, based on 2008-2009 annual averages. SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A closer look


One of the drugs of choice. Cocaine and crack are significant concerns in suburban and rural communities outside of Philadelphia. Colombian, Puerto Rican and Dominican groups based in New York and Philadelphia supply lower-level Hispanic and African-American groups who distribute the drug in the Philadelphia area and in smaller cities, towns and rural areas. New York City is the primary source area for powder cocaine, which is then made into crack.


Wholesale and retail quantities abundantly available. In western Pennsylvania, the abundance of marijuana is due to commercial companies continuing to transport it and a number of grow operations. In Philadelphia, BC Bud is available. At the retail level, Hispanic, African-American and Caucasian groups along with some dominant Jamaican organizations continue to control the marijuana market. Source areas are Texas, Mexico and New York City as well as Arizona and California where transport is increasingly in personal vehicles. For large quantities, tractor-trailers, passenger vehicles, passenger luggage on airplanes, buses and trains, U.S. mail and shipping companies are used. Localities throughout the state are transshipment points.


Widely available. South American heroin is readily available, especially as distributors bring it into smaller towns and rural areas. The greater Philadelphia area is a consumer market, as are the northeastern and southwestern parts of the state where cocaine was dominant, and western Pennsylvania, particularly Pittsburgh. North Philadelphia’s street corner distribution sites attract distributors from throughout the state, but in West and South Philadelphia, heroin is distributed to a lesser extent. Dominican sources of supply are concentrated in Northeast Philadelphia.

Allentown, Bethlehem, Reading and Easton are lower-level supply points for users and distributors in surrounding communities. While the primary sources are based in New York City, heroin is also smuggled directly into Philadelphia from Colombia via transshipment points including Aruba, Mexico and other Caribbean locations.


Oxycodone products, fentanyl, pseudoephedrine and benzodiazepines most commonly abused. OxyContin use is popular in northeastern Pennsylvania but decreasing elsewhere in the state. Sources are the illegal sale and distribution by health care professionals and workers, “doctor shopping,” forged prescriptions and the internet.


Highest use in Philadelphia area. Local traffickers who produce the meth and major trafficking organizations from California and Mexico control most of the supply. Cross-country transport is via private vehicles, bus luggage and mail and parcel services. While use is low compared to the Midwest and West, use is increasing. Small labs have infiltrated the northwestern counties and the Poconos. But labs also are throughout the state in residences and motel rooms. Ice is increasing in popularity in Philadelphia nightclubs and other areas. Abuse of meth is most prevalent among middle- and lower-middle-class white males.

Club drugs

MDMA (Ecstasy) readily available at rave parties and nightclubs. Israeli and Dutch nationals as well as Russian and Israeli organized crime groups traffic MDMA from the Netherlands through Canada, New York and the Caribbean and then to Pennsylvania cities. Transport is via couriers on airplanes. GHB, ketamine and PCP are available in the Philadelphia area; GHB is also available in central Pennsylvania. LSD is available in western Pennsylvania and in smaller urban areas and college areas.


Not a significant problem.

Percentage of Pennsylvania population using/abusing drugs

AGE1 18+
Past Month Illicit Drug Use2 6.78
Past Year Marijuana Use 8.96
Past Month Marijuana Use 4.94
Past Month Use of Illicit Drugs Other Than Marijuana2 2.99
Past Year Cocaine Use 2.06
Past Year Nonmedical Pain Reliever Use 3.82
Perception of Great Risk of Smoking Marijuana Once a Month3 40.94
Past Month Alcohol Use 56.62
Past Month Binge Alcohol Use4 25.01
Perception of Great Risk of Drinking Five or More Drinks Once or Twice a Week3 38.98
Illicit Drug Dependence2 1.56
Illicit Drug Dependence or Abuse2 2.06
Alcohol Dependence 2.88
Alcohol Dependence or Abuse 6.54
Alcohol or Illicit Drug Dependence or Abuse2 7.77
Needing But Not Receiving Treatment for Illicit Drug Use2,6 1.78
Needing But Not Receiving Treatment for Alcohol Use6 6.25
Serious psychological distress 10.50
Having at least one major depressive episode7 6.64

1 Age group is based on a respondent’s age at the time of the interview, not his or her age at first use.

2 Illicit Drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically. Illicit Drugs Other Than Marijuana include cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically.

3 When the Perception of Great Risk in using marijuana or alcohol is low, use of marijuana or alcohol is high.

4 Binge Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

5 Dependence or abuse is based on definitions found in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

6 Needing But Not Receiving Treatment refers to respondents needing treatment for illicit drugs or alcohol, but not receiving treatment at a specialty facility.

7 Major Depressive Episode is a period of at least 2 weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of the symptoms for depression as described in the DSM-IV.

Source: Condensed version of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2004 and 2005, from SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies.

Where do calls go?

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