Meth Abuse and Addiction Stats
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2019:
- 0.7% of Americans used meth in the past year
- 184,000 Americans used meth for the first time
- 0.4% of Americans had a methamphetamine use disorder
Experts believe that restrictions on the over-the-counter drugs used to make meth have helped reduce the availability of the drug, or at least prevented many Americans from making it at home.
- In 2017 there were 80% fewer methamphetamine laboratory incidents than in 2010.
- In 2010 there were 15,256 incidents, in 2017 there were only 3,036.
The Dangers of Methamphetamine Abuse by the Numbers
Methamphetamine is one of the most commonly misused stimulants in the world. Meth is extremely dangerous, harmful to users’ health, and highly addictive. In some areas of the U.S., meth use is even more dangerous than opioid abuse and contributes most to violent crime.
The dangerous effects of methamphetamine use include:
- Memory loss
- Dental issues (“meth mouth”)
- Cardiovascular and respiratory damage
- Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis
How Meth Contributes to Violent Crime
There is some evidence that methamphetamine use is correlated to violent crimes. Although the evidence is not necessarily conclusive, it is still important to note that there may be a worrisome connection between meth-use and violence.
- A study from 2009 showed that the odds of committing a homicide were nearly nine times greater for methamphetamine users.
- In 2010, 50-73% of state and local law enforcement agencies in the western U.S. reported that methamphetamine contributed more than other drugs to violence and crime in their areas.
While the correlation between meth use and violence still needs to be studied further, it is not surprising based on the symptoms of methamphetamine. Meth users can experience paranoia, mood disturbances, confusion, anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, aggression, and insomnia. Many of the psychotic symptoms of meth can recur months or even years after use.
Methamphetamine Overdose Statistics
The most dangerous risk of using methamphetamine is the risk of deadly overdose. Meth has a euphoric effect that comes on quickly and doesn’t last long, causing users to try to maintain their high by using more. This substance abuse pattern can lead to overdose.
In 2017 there were 7.5 times more overdose deaths involving methamphetamine than in 2007.
Overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, have risen significantly over the past few years. Researchers believe this incline is due more to an increase in the frequency of meth use than the slight increase in the number of users.
Meth-involved overdose nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019 among people ages 18-64 even though the number of people using meth did not increase as steeply. One explanation is an increase in the frequency of meth use.
Data suggests that people who reported using meth at least 100 days or more per year rose by 66% between 2015 and 2019.
Meth Statistics by Race
White middle-aged Americans have historically been the most likely users of methamphetamine. In recent years, the populations using meth have become more diverse.
One study showed rates per 1000 people by race were:
- Non-Hispanic White: 7.5
- Hispanic: 6.7
- Non-Hispanic other races: 5.6
A different study showed evidence that American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest prevalence of methamphetamine use. They have also had the highest increases in drug overdose deaths in recent years.
Another interesting finding was that methamphetamine use disorder without injection increased 10-fold among Black Americans from 2015-2019.
Meth Statistics by Age
Methamphetamine was added to the annual “Monitoring the Future (MTF)” survey of adolescent drug use in 1999. Since then, adolescent meth use has declined greatly. However, meth use remains a big problem for several other age groups.
- In 2018 only .5% of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders reported using methamphetamine in the past year.
- The age groups most likely to use methamphetamine are 26-34, 35-49, and 50 and older.
- Methamphetamine use disorder without injection has quadrupled in the 18 to 23 age group.
Meth Statistics in Women vs. Men
Men are generally more likely to use methamphetamine than women. However, women face different issues with meth use, including potential pregnancy.
An estimated 8.7 per 1000 men and 4.7 per 1000 women use methamphetamine.
Pregnant women using methamphetamine put their future children at risk of many health issues and mental disabilities. Infants prenatally exposed to meth can be born small in size, lethargic, and with heart and brain abnormalities. Toddlers can have delayed motor development. School-age children can have cognitive, attention-span, behavioral, self-control, and executive function issues.
Meth Abuse Statistics in the LGBTQ+ Community
Methamphetamine use among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) adults has been on the rise in recent years, especially among those ages 26 and older.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that in 2019, 3.6% of LGB adults ages 26+ used methamphetamine. That was an increase of .7% from 2018.
Methamphetamine injection has also been linked to HIV transmission. Gay and bisexual men already face a higher rate of HIV than other groups. The high rates of methamphetamine injection among gay men put them at even higher risk of infection.
Regional Methamphetamine Statistics
An important note for methamphetamine statistics is that this drug is significantly more available in the western and midwestern regions of the United States.
- More than 70% of local law enforcement agencies from the pacific and west-central regions of the US report methamphetamine as the greatest drug threat in their area
- Treatment admissions for methamphetamine are less than 1% at sites east of the Mississippi River
- Treatment admissions for methamphetamine range from 12-29% at sites west of the Mississippi River
- The rate of past-year methamphetamine use is estimated at 2.76 per 1000 in New York
- The rate of past-year methamphetamine use is estimated at 13.98 per 1000 in Nevada
Treatment Types and How to Get Help
While methamphetamine addiction is very dangerous, it is also very treatable. A multitude of treatment options exists for methamphetamine use disorder.
- According to the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), treatment admissions for methamphetamine misuse dropped from 68 per 100,000 people in 2005 to 49 per 100,000 people in 2015.
- About 52.9% of adults who reported using methamphetamine in the past year had methamphetamine use disorder.
- An estimated 31.5% of those with methamphetamine use disorder received treatment.
Meth addiction treatment options include behavioral therapy, medication-based therapy, vaccines, and magnetic-field brain stimulation. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine, there are many options to get help.