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Cutting of Heroin in the United States in the 1990s

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 29 Issue: 1 Dated: Winter 1999 Pages: 17-36
R Coomber
Date Published
20 pages
This article explores the nature of drug adulteration and dilution ("cutting") practices relating to illicit drugs and heroin in particular in the US in the 1990s.
The conventional model which assumes that the cutting of drugs occurs down through the chain of distribution is no longer applicable to the US drug trade. In recent years the purity of heroin available in the US has risen tenfold and its availability increased. Changes in adulteration/dilution practices have accompanied this shift. New data show that, rather than being systematic and predictable, adulteration is non-systematic and likely to be undertaken, for a variety of reasons, by a minority of those involved in drug distribution. The article also discusses evidence suggesting that most adulteration/dilution is carried out prior to importation and with comparatively harmless substances. Tables, notes, references


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