Meth hospitalizations are increasing more rapidly than other substances in the US, particularly in the West (Winkleman 2018).

Meth Hospitalizations in LAC

Meth hospitalizations increased over the past decade and remains high in LAC. 

In LAC from 2005 to 2021, there were 214,599 hospitalizations that listed any methamphetamine abuse, dependence, use, or poisoning as a diagnosis or external-cause-of-injury (methamphetamine-related). Methamphetamine-related hospitalizations increased 186% from 2005 to 2021. By 2021, the annual total for methamphetamine-related hospitalizations reached 21,034 cases (Figure 1). 

From 2016 to 2021, the most frequently reported diagnosis for methamphetamine-related hospitalizations was methamphetamine abuse (65.0%), followed by methamphetamine dependence (18.2%), methamphetamine use (15.2%), and methamphetamine poisoning (3.7%) (Figure 2).  

A total of 12,148 hospitalizations, listed methamphetamine abuse, dependence, use, or poisoning as the principal diagnosis or principal external-cause-of-injury (primary). Primary methamphetamine hospitalizations increased 102% from 2005 to 2021. By 2021, the annual total for primary methamphetamine hospitalizations reached 1,085 cases (Figure 3). 

Diagnosis type for primary methamphetamine hospitalizations differed from that for all methamphetamine-related hospitalizations. Poisoning (37.1%) accounted for a much larger proportion. More were hospitalized for dependence (35.6%), and fewer were hospitalized for abuse (40%) and use (10%) (Figure 4). 

Demographics of Meth Hospitalizations

Economic Burden

Hospital Days

During 2012-2021, patients with a methamphetamine-related condition stayed in the hospital for an average of 6.0 days, accounting for total 1,026,393 hospital days.

Patients who were hospitalized for primary methamphetamine conditions stayed on average of 5.1 days, accounting for 47,975 hospital days.

(Note: Patients admitted and discharged on the same day were counted has having 1 day for their length of stay.)

Hospital Spending

In 2012-2021, the mean hospital charge for methamphetamine-related hospitalizations was $58,513 (adjusted for inflation to 2022 US dollars). 

The mean hospital charge increased 67% from 2012 to 2021. The annual total methamphetamine-related hospital spending increased 272% from about $410 million in 2012 to over $1.5 billion in 2021 (Figure 17).

For primary methamphetamine hospitalizations, the mean hospital charge was $48,082, and increased 63% during this period. Total spending for primary methamphetamine hospitalizations increased 219% from about $22 million in 2012 to nearly $70 million in 2021 (Figure 18). 


Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI, formally OSHPD). Nonpublic Inpatient Discharge and Emergency Department data, 2005-2021.  California Department of Public Health.

Winkelman, T. N., Admon, L. K., Jennings, L., Shippee, N. D., Richardson, C. R., & Bart, G. (2018). Evaluation of amphetamine-related hospitalizations and associated clinical outcomes and costs in the United States. JAMA network open, 1(6), e183758-e183758.