using CSDP's own search tool
1) How Many Methamphetamine Users Are There?
Recent federal survey data on methamphetamine use estimates that just over 5% of those aged 12 and over in the US have ever tried methamphetamine, and that approximately 0.3% of the population has used methamphetamine in the past month. In comparison, 40.6% were reported to have tried marijuana in their lifetimes and 6.2% of the population were estimated to have tried marijuana in the past month; 14.7% of the population were reported to have ever tried cocaine and 1.0% were past month users; 1.6% of the US population have ever tried heroin and 0.1% were estimated to be past month users; and 4.3% of the US population have ever tried Ecstasy (MDMA) while 0.2% were estimated to be past month users.
2) Is Methamphetamine Use On The Increase?
According to the most recent federal National Survey on Drug Use and Health, "The number of new users of stimulants generally increased during the 1990s, but there has been little change since 2000. Incidence of methamphetamine use generally rose between 1992 and 1998. Since then, there have been no statistically significant changes."
3) How Big A Problem Is "Home Cooking" Of Methamphetamine?
Though it is difficult to measure illegal activity, some officials estimate that only 20% of domestic consumption of methamphetamine came from the small-scale domestic producers targeted by restrictions on cold and allergy medications and other household materials.
4) How Effective Are Restrictions On Cold And Allergy Medicines?
In states which have passed restrictions on availability of cold and allergy medicines, such as Oklahoma and Arkansas, officials claim that the number of production operations in those states have declined; use, however, remains as high. Law enforcement in those states now report growing availability of a purer, smokable form of methamphetamine known as "ice" thought to be produced by cartels based in Mexico.
5) What Are The Real Dangers Of Methamphetamine?
According to the federal Community Epidemiology Working Group, there are many more deaths related to heroin use in the US annually than related to methamphetamine use, and most meth deaths involve more than one drug.
This is in spite of the fact that federal surveys report there are 3 times as many monthly methamphetamine users than monthly heroin users.
The Merck Pharmaceutical Manual notes that "Abusers of amphetamine are prone to accidents because the drug produces excitation and grandiosity followed by excess fatigue and sleeplessness. Taken IV [intravenously], amphetamine may lead to serious antisocial behavior and can precipitate a schizophrenic episode." Also, "Continued high doses of methamphetamine produce anxiety reactions during which the person is fearful, tremulous, and concerned about his physical well-being, an amphetamine psychosis in which the person misinterprets others' actions, hallucinates, and becomes unrealistically suspicious; an exhaustion syndrome, involving intense fatigue and need for sleep, after the stimulation phase; and a prolonged depression, during which suicide is possible."
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse: "The central nervous system (CNS) actions that result from taking even small amounts of methamphetamine include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, hyperthermia, and euphoria. Other CNS effects include irritability, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia, and aggressiveness. Hyperthermia and convulsions can result in death."
6) Can Methamphetamine Addicts Be Treated Successfully?
Yes. Research by UCLA's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and others shows that treatment can be effective for methamphetamine users. Successful treatment requires a significant commitment of time and resources as well as patience.
7) Has the federal government been asleep at the wheel regarding methamphetamine?
Though the Bush administration is being criticized for its apparent inaction on methamphetamine,
the federal government noted the growth in methamphetamine use which did occur during the mid-1990s, as evidenced by a 1995 report from the Centers for Disease Control on increasing methamphetamine abuse
; an interagency task force report issued in January 2000
with recommendations for a coordinated national strategy to address methamphetamine production and use; and a US Sentencing Commission Final Report on Methamphetamine issued in November 1999.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3964). Rockville, MD, p. 189, Table G.2. Also available on the web at
last accessed Aug. 31, 2005.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3964). Rockville, MD, p. 46.
Also available on the web at
http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda/2k3nsduh/2k3Results.htm#ch5, last accessed Aug. 31, 2005.
Testimony of Commissioner Michael Campion, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy & Human Resources, June 27, 2005, available at
National Association of Counties, "Former Meth Labs Similar To 'Mini-Superfund' Sites," April 11, 2005
Associated Press, "Stopping Meth Makers Hasn't Stopped Oklahoma's Meth Problems," July 28, 2005, from the web at
, last accessed Aug. 30, 2005.
Associated Press, "Arkansas Meth Law Breaking In-State Supply Chain, But Not Imports," Aug. 28, 2005, from the web at
, last accessed Aug. 30, 2005.
"Epidemiologic Trends In Drug Abuse, Vol. 1: Proceedings of the Community Epidemiology Work Group, June 2004," Naitonal Institutes of Health, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, May 2005.
2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2004).
"Amphetamine Dependence", The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Section 15.Psychiatric Disorders, Chapter 195.Drug Use and Dependence, Merck & Co. Inc., from the web at
http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section15/chapter195/195g.htm last accessed Aug. 30, 2005.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax: Methamphetamine No. 13552 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at
http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/methamphetamine.html, last accessed Aug. 30, 2005.
Rawson, Richard A., et al., "A multi-site comparison of psychological approaches for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence," Addiction, No. 99, pp. 708-717.
Obert, Jeanne L., et al., "The Matrix Model of Outpatient Stimulant Abuse Treatment: History and Description," Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 32, No. 2, April-June 2000, pp. 157-164.
Methamphetamine Treatment Project at
http://www.methamphetamine.org/, last accessed Aug. 30, 2005.
Pamela Brogan, "Bush Proposal to Fight Meth Falls Flat," Gannett News Service, Aug. 23, 2005, from the web at
http://www.mapinc.org/newscsdp/v05/n1375/a10.html, last accessed Aug. 30, 2005.
"Increasing Morbidity and Mortality Associated with Abuse of Methamphetamine -- United States, 1991-1994," Centers for Disease Control, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 44, No. 47, Dec. 1, 1995, pp. 882-886, from the web at
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00039666.htm, last accessed Aug. 31, 2005.
Federal Methamphetamine Interagency Task Force, "Final Report," Jan. 2000, available
US Sentencing Commission, "Methamphetamine: Final Report," Nov. 1999, available from
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Common Sense for Drug Policy,
Kevin B. Zeese, President -- Mike Gray, Chairman --
Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman
-- Melvin R. Allen, Director --
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Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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