Meth has entered into the public consciousness in new ways recently though popular television shows such as Breaking Bad, however in reality meth has been impacting communities across the United State for decades.
Among adults aged 26 or older in 2018, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 0.7 percent were past year methamphetamine users. This percentage represents 1.6 million adults in the United States who used methamphetamine in the past year, which was higher than the percentages in 2016 and 2017, but similar to the percentage in 2015.
However, it is important to note the degree to which these numbers appear to mask regional variability. While methamphetamine use across the United States as a whole has stayed relatively steady over the past 5 years, the highest impact is in the western and midwestern regions of the US; more than 70 percent 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.
Further, the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) found “that treatment admissions for methamphetamine as the primary substance of use were less than one percent in sites east of the Mississippi River, but ranged from 12-29 percent in the sites west of the Mississippi. Nationwide, overdose deaths from the category of drugs that includes methamphetamine increased by 7.5 times between 2007 and 2017.”
How to tell if you or a loved one is using meth problematically?
The following criteria come from the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013:
- Methamphetamine is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended.
- A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control methamphetamine use.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities, necessary to obtain methamphetamine, use, or recover from its effects.
- Craving or a strong desire or urge to use methamphetamine.
- Recurrent methamphetamine use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
- Continued methamphetamine use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of methamphetamine.
- Recurrent methamphetamine use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Methamphetamine use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems likely to have been caused or exacerbated by methamphetamine.
- Physical or psychological issues that are likely to have been caused or exacerbated by methamphetamine use.
- High tolerance for methamphetamine.
- Withdrawal symptoms experienced without using methamphetamine.
If you or a loved one’s methamphetamine use meet at least two of these criteria in the past 12 months, then you may be suffering from a substance use disorder requiring treatment.