HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Grabs High Spot On Drugs List
Pubdate: Thu, 13 Mar 2008
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Canoe Limited Partnership
Contact:  http://www.ottawasun.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/329
Author: Kenneth Jackson

POT GRABS HIGH SPOT ON DRUGS LIST

Ottawa may have become known as the "crack" capital of Canada but the
majority of users still like to paint the town green.

Marijuana is the drug of choice followed by crack cocaine on the list
of the top five drugs in the city, according to Ottawa police.

"I would say weed is number one," said Staff-Sgt. Pete Gauthier head
of the drug unit.

PROFITABLE BUSINESS

Gauthier says his unit executes 55-60 search warrants a year on
suspected grow operations that have up to 1,000 plants.

He said pot is mostly controlled by organized crime outfits. It's
grown in Ottawa or surrounding areas and is a profitable business.

In 2006, police made 919 marijuana busts, up from the 715 the previous
year.

Third on the list is cocaine, which is exclusively controlled by
organized crime.

Gauthier said the city has an "abundance" of coke that originates in
South America.

Some comes straight to Ottawa but most of the city's supply comes from
Montreal or Toronto.

Police made 546 coke busts in 2006, nearly 200 more than in 2005.
There were only 216 in 2004.

Prescription drugs follow closely behind in fourth place as many
people find it easy to acquire potent pain relievers like oxycontin
and percocet. Pharmacy robberies fuel the black market feeding those
addicted to pills.

Police said most busts involving prescription drugs occur at
crackhouses, because crack addicts use oxys or percs to fall asleep
after being strung out for days on crack or coke.

NOT THE SAME 'E'

Ecstasy holds onto the last spot on the list but it's not the same "E"
that partygoers popped a few years ago.

Most ecstasy today is cut with methamphetamine to make it more
addictive. A euphoria that used to last approximately four hours can
now last 10-12 hours and coming down off it can be
devastating.

Police say most of their busts are around 1,000 pills.
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