National Meth Statistics
Methamphetamine Impact: National Statistics
The abuse of methamphetamine—a potent and highly addictive psycho stimulant—continues to be a very
serious problem in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Methamphetamine
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
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.ii 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 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 2009vi 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 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 #1: During 1999 4.3% (9.4 million people) of the U.S. population reported trying methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime.
The highest rate of meth use was among the 18-25 age group with 5.2% of them reporting lifetime meth use during 1999.
Meth Statistics #2: Meth lab seizures have gone up 577% nationally since 1995.
Meth Statistics #3: Statistics over the past few years show Oklahoma among the nations leader in Meth labs, arrests, addiction and cases.
Meth Statistics #4: In 1994 the Drug Enforcement Administration seized 63 meth labs. That figure climbed to 879 in 1996 and 1,627 in 1998.
Meth Statistics #5: Meth numbers also indicate the drug has yet to make it to the East Coast. Cities such as Oklahoma and Omaha have worse
meth problems, than New York City or Detroit.
Meth Statistics #6: Nowhere is it a bigger problem that in the Midwest, where meth accounts for nearly 90% of all drug cases, and nowhere is
it more prevalent than in Oklahoma, which ranks in the top five in almost every meth category.
Meth Statistics #7: Meth is surpassing cocaine as the drug of choice in Oklahoma. The state medical examiner's office reports the number of
death cases testing positive for meth have been higher than cocaine for the past three years. The office also reports meth is found in more cases of
homicides, and motor vehicle accidents.
Meth Statistics #8: The estimated cost of making meth is $100 an ounce, with a street value of $800 an ounce.
Meth Statistics #9: While cheap for the people who make it, meth is costly for taxpayers. The OSBI estimates that it costs an average of
$2,000 to clean up a lab. Many law enforcement agencies including the OSBI contract out for cleaning services. The OSBI spent $1 million on cleaning
services each year.
Meth Statistics #10: The courts have felt the effects of the meth invasion, with several distinct courts overloaded with cases. Many are being
dropped because of delays in meth testing at state laboratories.
Meth Statistics #11: This year, both the legislature and federal government have increased funding to prosecute meth manufacturers.
Meth Statistics #12: Methamphetamine's high lasts for 6 to 12 hours, and 50% of the drug is removed from the body in 12 hours.
Meth Statistics #13: Meth's street value is approximately $3,000 per pound.
Meth Statistics #14: Meth is a highly addictive drug that can be manufactured by using products commercially available anywhere in the United
Meth Statistics #15: Methamphetamine led to 10,447 visits to emergency departments in 1999, down from a peak of 17,665 in 1994.
Meth Statistics #16: Methamphetamine contributed to nearly 500 deaths in 1998, the last year for which data are available.
Meth Statistics #17: Approximately 8% of high school seniors surveyed in 2000 had used methamphetamine at least once in their lives. An unknown
number of teenaged users may have dropped out of school before reaching senior year.
Meth Statistics #18: Meth lab seizures have gone up 577% nationally since 1995.
Meth Statistics #19: Meth arrests have gone up 300% nationally since 1993.
Meth Statistics #20: It costs government an average of $2,000 to clean up a methamphetamine lab.
Meth Statistics #21: Methamphetamine's high lasts from 6 to 12 hours, and 50% of the drug is removed from the body in 12 hours. Cocaine's
high lasts from 20 to 30 minutes, and 50% of the drug is removed from the body in 1 hour.
Meth Statistics #22: Methamphetamine's street value is approximately $3,000 per pound (about the size of a brick), while the price of
cocaine is roughly $11,000 per pound.
Meth Statistics #23: The Office of National Drug Control Policy determined that every dollar spent on treatment resulted in a $7.46 reduction in lost productivity and crime-related spending. This estimate does not include the costs of providing medical care.