WASHINGTON — Los Angeles has the worst cocaine and PCP problem among the nation's cities, and San Francisco and Detroit have the biggest heroin problem, according to a study by a private research group.
The city most affected by cocaine and PCP-related hospital emergency room admissions was Los Angeles, said the report issued Thursday, while San Francisco was the city most often listing heroin in hospital admissions.
Washington's Maryland and Virginia suburbs were the nation's leading suburban areas for cocaine-related hospital emergency room admissions, the report said, followed by Detroit, Newark, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The suburbs most affected by heroin were those surrounding Detroit, followed by Washington, Newark, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Suburban areas most affected by PCP were led by Washington with a hospital admission rate five times greater than Los Angeles in second, 10 times greater than Baltimore in third and 15 times more than San Francisco in fourth.
Rand Corp. researchers who prepared the study rated metropolitan areas' problems with drugs based on the number of drug-related admissions to hospital emergency rooms.
"This problem affects every segment of our society and our community. It is a problem of frightening proportions," said Edward Mitchell, president of the Potomac Electric Power Co., one of the Washington-area corporate sponsors of the report.
The $100,000 study said prevention programs have been "the neglected stepchild" of anti-drug efforts while more resources have been given to attempts by the police to control violence surrounding drug usage.