Meth Addiction Statistics

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Methamphetamine is a Schedule 2 controlled substance. Possession or use without a valid prescription (for the table form) is illegal. This makes statistical data difficult to gather and estimates of use vary. Addicts are not tracked except as part of a medical or law enforcement intervention.

Learn More About Meth Addiction Symptoms, Withdrawal, and Treatment Options

The main tools used to track use are either statistics gathered from emergency room visits, arrests, or self reported use on anonymous surveys. In many cases, the abuse of methamphetamine cannot be separated from abuse of other illegal substances. Addicts may be cross addicted to multiple drugs. Studies that try to track usage trends are hampered by these factors and others (available grants, State or local variation, age-related drug preferences).

The Drug Abuse Warning Network uses Emergency Room data from 2004 to 2008 to generate the following:

  • Nationally, ER visits for methamphetamine have been declining -- a drop of about half (from 132,000 to 63,000) from 2004 to 2008.
  • Out of this number, only about 10,000 (one in six) requested detox or follow up treatment in rehab.
  • • Methamphetamine abuse remains variable by location in the U.S. It is more popular in Western States and in the South. For example, the numbers for ER visits due to meth in Phoenix remained relatively constant at about 3,000 while the national average decreased. Full tables for various metropolitan areas are available here.
  • • Use among underage population is estimated by anonymous survey, but results vary.
  • • Overall, abuse of methamphetamine (tracked as mentioned) seems to be falling. Usage has decreased by half between 2006 and 2008 according to NIDA. This may be because of harsher restrictions on precursor chemicals (used to make meth) or a preference in the drug community for prescription opioids (which is trending upward).
  • • DEA seizures of methamphetamine have remained about the same over the last several years. While national trends are downward, meth use varies geographically, so that, for instance, in South Dakota, about 12% of high school seniors had tried meth (2008) and the number of patients entering treatment for meth addiction has increased 61% from 2005 to 2008 (while national abuse rates have fallen).
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