Meth Statistics
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Meth Statistics

Methamphetamine Impact: National Meth Statistics

Meth StatisticsThe abuse of methamphetamine—a potent and highly addictive psychostimulant—continues to be a very serious problem in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  Meth abuse leads to devastating medical, psychological and social consequences. Adverse health effects include memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, heart damage, malnutrition and severe dental problems. Methamphetamine abuse also contributes to increased transmission of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, and increases in crime, unemployment, child neglect or abuse, as well as other social ills.

Meth Statistics: The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in the United States

The RAND Corporation’s report “The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine Use in the United States, 2005,” estimates the national cost of Meth abuse is $23.4 billion. This study represents the first time that a comprehensive assessment of the annual costs of methamphetamine abuse has been analyzed on a national scale.

  • The RAND study found that methamphetamine use imposes a significant and disproportionate burden on both individuals and society in money spent on treatment, healthcare, and foster care services, as well as the costs of crime and lost productivity associated with the drug.
  • The $23.4 billion in costs translates into $26,614 for each person who used methamphetamine in the past year or $73,692 for each meth dependent user.

Meth Statistics: Meth Crimes

Meth abuse imposes serious costs to the criminal justice system. For example, in 2005, the National Association of Counties (NACO) released results from a survey of law enforcement officials from 45 states reporting that meth-induced crime was increasing, and more than half reported that meth was their county’s greatest drug problem.

  • Based on its 2007 survey results, NACO reported meth is still the number one drug problem and according to their survey:
    • 47% of county sheriffs report that meth is their number one drug problem. That is more than cocaine (21%) and marijuana (22%) combined.
    • 55% of sheriffs report increases in robberies and burglaries during the last year
  • Criminal justice costs associated with enforcing meth laws represent the second largest category of costs at $4.2 billion.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Drug Threat Assessment 2009 continues to report that an overwhelming percentage (68%) of state and local agencies in the 20 Western states perceive meth as their greatest drug threat. Comparatively, 19% perceive cocaine as their top threat.

Meth Statistics: Meth Treatment and Use

  • According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the best estimate for the number of meth dependent users is 270,348—an 11% increase from 2005.
  • 47% of hospitals report meth as the top illicit drug involved in emergency room visits.
  • The calculated costs associated with drug treatment are approximately $545 million, of which $491 million is in the community-based specialty treatment sector.
  • Treatment admissions for meth more than doubled nationally between 2000 and 2005.

Meth Statistics: 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

  • According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), meth statistics show an approximated 10.4 million Americans aged 12 or older used methamphetamine at least once in their life for recreational use, representing 4.3% of the U.S. population in that age group. The amount of past year methamphetamine users in 2005 was approximately 1.3 million (0.5% of the population aged 12 or older) and the amount of past month methamphetamine users was 512,000 (0.2%).
  • Among 12-17 year olds surveyed as part of the 2005 NSDUH, meth statistics notes 0.3% admitted past month methamphetamine use. Additional NSDUH results demonstrate that 0.6% of 18-25 year olds and 0.1% of those aged 26 or older reported meth use in the last 30 days.
  • The 2005 NSDUH results also show that there were 192,000 individuals aged 12 or older who had used methamphetamine for the first time within the last year. This is a statistically important reduction from 2004 when there were 318,000 past year methamphetamine initiates.
  • Meth statistics results from the 2006 Monitoring the Future survey demonstrate that 2.7% of eighth graders, 3.2% of tenth graders, and 4.4% of twelfth graders reported lifetime use of meth. During 2the year 2005, these percentages were 3.1%, 4.1%, and 4.5%, respectively.
  • The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys high school students on numerous risk factors such as drug and alcohol use. Results of the 2005 survey show that 6.2% of high school students admitted using methamphetamine at some point in their lives. This is a decrease from 7.6% in 2003 and 9.8% in 2001.
  • Meth statistics reveal long-term methamphetamine abuse can lead to addiction, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, and violent behavior. In addition, psychotic symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions (such as the sensation of bugs crawling under the user's skin) can occur. The psychotic symptoms of meth use can last for months or years after methamphetamine use has stopped.
  • Of an approximated 108 million emergency department (ED) admissions in the U.S. during 2005, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimates that 1,449,154 ED visits were related with drug misuse or abuse. DAWN data demonstrate that methamphetamine was involved in 108,905 of the drug-related ED admissions.
  • From the year 1995 to the year 2005, meth statistics show the number of admissions to treatment in which methamphetamine was the principal drug of abuse increased from 47,695 in 1995 to 152,368 in 2005. The methamphetamine admissions represented 2.8% of the total drug/alcohol admissions to treatment in the year 1995 and 8.2% of the treatment admissions in the year 2005. The average age of the individuals admitted to treatment for methamphetamine/amphetamine addiction in 2005 was 31 years.

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