A new study by SANDAG shows that use of methamphetamine by arrestees is on the upswing in San Diego County, resulting in increased deaths and emergency-room admissions.
The study, released Monday, revealed that 47 percent of women and 31 percent of men who were arrested in 2012 tested positive for meth, compared to 39 percent and 26 percent, respectively, in 2011.
After marijuana, meth has consistently ranked as the second most commonly used illicit drug among arrestees.
Other meth indicators are also rising. Deaths associated with meth use jumped 16 percent between 2011 and 2012, from a total of 122 to 142. Overall, 32 percent of local substance-abuse treatment admissions in 2012 involved meth as the primary drug of choice.
“Despite exemplary, collaborative efforts such as the Methamphetamine Strike Force, meth use remains a chronic problem in our region. While some progress has been made, law enforcement agencies, emergency rooms, and public drug treatment programs continue to have to pour valuable resources into tackling the problem,” SANDAG Director of Criminal Justice Research Dr. Cynthia Burke said.
“Meth use is often an underlying factor in family violence, child abuse and neglect, work problems, and high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence.”
SANDAG said the typical adult meth-using arrestee has been using the drug for about 13 years on average – usually smoking it, but sometimes snorting or injecting it.