Experts Continue to Worry About Methamphetamine Addiction

Meth related crimes continue to grow; epidemic moving west to east
In many counties throughout the United States, methamphetamine remains the number-one drug problem, according to a survey of county law enforcement officials. The survey, titled "The Methamphetamine Epidemic: The Criminal Effect of Meth on Communities," was conducted by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to find out the effect of methamphetamine abuse.

While meth lab seizures are down significantly, due largely to new laws, crimes related to methamphetamine abuse continue to grow. The survey also suggested the following:

  • Meth abuse is a serious problem. More counties reported meth as the primary drug problem than cocaine, marijuana and heroin combined.
  • The majority of meth currently being abused is imported from out-of-state locations, including Mexico.
  • Meth use continues to be common in western states and is increasing in popularity on the east coast. In Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, 100 percent reported that meth is the number-one drug problem. Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska and Oregon followed close behind. This information correlates with the national trend that meth is popular in western rural areas and is spreading across the country from west to east.
  • Protecting residents from the dangers of meth has increased the workload of public safety officials.
  • Individuals who abuse meth are more likely to commit crimes. Law enforcement officials reported an increase in robberies, burglaries, simple assaults, identity theft and domestic violence. Meth-related arrests account for a significant number of crimes that merit imprisonment.

    Other surveys by NACo have shown additional impacts of meth abuse on counties in the U.S.:
  • Meth is the biggest drug threat to county law enforcement officials.
  • In 2005, meth was responsible for an increase in out-of-home placements for children.
  • Meth abuse was responsible for more emergency room admissions than any other drug
  • The need for meth treatment is growing.


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