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National Forensic Laboratory Information System. (2022) NFLIS-Drug 2021 annual report. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division.

PDF (NFLIS-Drug 2021 annual report)

The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) is a program of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Diversion Control Division. NFLIS-Drug systematically collects drug identification results and associated information from drug cases submitted to and analyzed by Federal, State, and local forensic laboratories. These laboratories analyze controlled and noncontrolled substances secured in law enforcement operations across the country, making NFLIS-Drug an important resource in monitoring illicit drug use and trafficking, including the diversion of legally manufactured pharmaceuticals into illegal markets. NFLIS-Drug includes information on the specific substance and the characteristics of drug evidence, such as purity, quantity, and drug combinations. These data are used to support drug scheduling decisions and to inform drug policy and drug enforcement initiatives nationally and in local communities around the country.


  • From January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021, an estimated 712,130 distinct drug cases were submitted to State and local laboratories in the United States and analyzed by March 31, 2022. From these cases, an estimated 1,326,205 drug reports were identified. Although the number of drugs reported for the NFLISDrug 2021 Annual Report increased from the number of drugs reported for the NFLIS-Drug 2020 Annual Report, the total number of cases and drugs reported continues to be noticeably lower than the annual number reported for the years before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Please see the Notice of Continued Decrease in Drug Reports.
  • Methamphetamine was the most frequently identified drug (406,200 reports) in 2021, followed by cannabis/ THC (167,669 reports), cocaine (165,162 reports), fentanyl (153,949 reports), and heroin (72,315 reports). These five most frequently identified drugs accounted for approximately 73% of all drug reports.
  • Nationally, fentanyl reports dramatically increased from 2014 through 2021. Alprazolam reports greatly increased from 2014 through 2016, then decreased through 2021. Oxycodone reports dramatically increased from 2007 through 2010, then declined steadily through 2021. Buprenorphine reports increased from 2013 through 2019, then decreased through 2021. Tramadol reports increased steadily from 2007 through 2018, then increased again from 2019 through 2021. Amphetamine reports increased from 2007 through 2018, then decreased through 2021.
  • Between 2020 and 2021, national reports of fentanyl and tramadol increased significantly (p < .05), while reports of alprazolam, oxycodone, buprenorphine, and amphetamine decreased significantly.
  • Regionally, fentanyl reports in the Northeast increased considerably from 2015 through 2019 and increased significantly from 2020 to 2021, while reports in the Midwest, West, and South increased substantially beginning in 2014. For alprazolam, reports in the West and Northeast decreased in 2019 and 2020, then increased in 2021, while in the Midwest and South, reports decreased from 2017 through 2021. For oxycodone, the highest number of reports occurred in 2010 or 2011 in all four regions, then decreased through 2020 in the Northeast and through 2021 in the West, Midwest, and South. Buprenorphine reports increased from 2014 through 2021 in the West, decreased from 2019 through 2021 in the Midwest and South, and remained steady in the Northeast from 2020 through 2021. In the West, tramadol reports increased steadily from 2011 through 2015 and in the South from 2011 through 2021, while the Midwest and Northeast exhibited even larger increases in reports from 2017 through 2021. For amphetamine, reports increased significantly in the Northeast from 2020 to 2021.
  • In 2021, fentanyl accounted for 60% of identified narcotic analgesic reports, while alprazolam accounted for 31% of identified tranquilizer and depressant reports. Among identified synthetic cannabinoids, ADBBUTINACA accounted for 36% of reports.
  • Nationwide, methamphetamine reports increased from 2011 through 2019, decreased in 2020, and then increased again in 2021. Cannabis/THC reports decreased from 2009 through 2021. Cocaine reports increased slightly from 2015 through 2017 and again in 2021. Heroin reports increased from 2007 through 2015, then decreased through 2021. Eutylone reports increased from 31 reports in 2017 to almost 13,000 reports in 2020 and remained steady in 2021. Fluorofentanyl reports increased from 2 reports in 2016 to over 10,000 reports in 2021.

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