Meth deaths have been increasing, and is among the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in LAC

Although national attention on the drug overdose epidemic has been focused on opioids, methamphetamines are increasingly associated with a significant proportion of the drug overdose deaths. 

From 2001-2021, drug overdose death rates of in the US involving psychostimulants such as methamphetamine increased from  0.2 to 10.0  per 100,000 (Spencer, 2022).

Meth Overdose Deaths

More methamphetamine overdose deaths were reported from LAC coroner data than from death certificates. 

According to LAC Coroner data, there were 1,882 methamphetamine overdose-related deaths in 2022, a 9% increase from the previous year, and 458% from 10 years ago (Figure 1).  

In 2022, the methamphetamine overdose age-adjusted death rate was 18.0, compared to 18.7 for fentanyl and 20.2 for all opioids, per 100,000 population (Figure 2).

According to death certificate data, in 2021, methamphetamine and opioids were the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in LAC.

Methamphetamine was involved in 56% of all drug overdoses in 2021  (Figure 3).

Demographics of Meth Overdose Deaths

Demographic differences were observed for meth overdose deaths based on death certificate data.

Opioid Co-Involvement

In recent years, methamphetamine-related deaths in the US increasingly co-involved opioids, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF). From 2016-2017, psychostimulant-related deaths that co-involved opioids increased 52%, while those that were independent of opioids increased 23% (Hoots 2019). In 2017, opioids were involved in 50% of psychostimulant overdoses (Karissa 2019, Gladden 2019). 

In LAC, methamphetamine overdose deaths co-involving opioids increased gradually from 2010-2015, then began to increase more quickly through 2019, then jumped in 2020 and continued to rise (Figure 13).

Co-involvement of fentanyl increased between 2016-2022 from 12 to 1,036 deaths. Deaths co-involving heroin increased from 64 in 2016 to 253 in 2020, then decreased following 2021 (Figure 14). 


CDC. Wide‐ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2020. Available from:

Gladden, R. M., O’Donnell, J., Mattson, C. L., & Seth, P. (2019). Changes in opioid-involved overdose deaths by opioid type and presence of benzodiazepines, cocaine, and methamphetamine—25 states, July–December 2017 to January–June 2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(34), 737.

Kariisa, M., Scholl, L., Wilson, N., Seth, P., & Hoots, B. (2019). Drug overdose deaths involving cocaine and psychostimulants with abuse potential—United States, 2003–2017. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 68(17), 388.

Los Angeles County Medical Examiner/Coroner’s Office. Coroner and Toxicology data. Data as of November 2023.

Spencer MR, Miniño AM, Warner M. Drug overdose deaths in the United States, 2001–2021. NCHS Data Brief, no 457. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. December 2022. DOI: https://dx.doi. org/10.15620/cdc:122556.