Use Prevalence

Past Year Meth Use

National Trends

In the U.S., past year methamphetamine use among individuals aged 12 or older increased from 0.6% in 2015 to 0.9% in 2021 (Figure 1), amounting to about 2.5 million users, of which about 101,000 were new users. An estimated 1.6 million (0.6%) developed methamphetamine use disorder for dependence and abuse (NSDUH, 2021). 

National Trends by Age

From 2015-2018, young adults aged 18 to 25 years had highest prevalence of past year methamphetamine use of all age groups. Past year methamphetamine use among young adults aged 26 or older increased since 2016, and became the age group with the highest prevalence of past year methamphetamine use by 2020 (Figure 2). 

Regional Differences

California had higher methamphetamine use in the past year compared to Los Angeles County and the U.S. overall among adults aged 18 or older in 2016-2018 (Figure 3).

In LAC, past year methamphetamine use increased consistently with age. compared to 2016-2018, methamphetamine use increased slightly among adults (Figure 4).

Ever Use of Meth Among Youth

Use Trends by Region

Among high school students, the percent that had ever used methamphetamine has been decreasing from 2003-2021 in the US.

Los Angeles County (LAC), which historically had a high prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine among high school students, had consistent large decreases since 2005, nearing that of the overall US estimates in 2017. In 2019, the percent of LAC increased to 3.3.%, while that for California jumped to 8.2%, and that for the US decreased to 2.1% (Figure 5). 

Regional Differences by Gender

Male high school students had a higher estimated prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine than female students in LAC and the US for most years during the 2003-2021 period. However, male students in LAC consistently had a higher estimated prevalence when compared to national estimates for 2005 to 2021. The estimated prevalence among females in LAC was higher than that of males only in 2005. 

As of 2021, 2.4% of male students and 1.4% of female students in LAC have ever used methamphetamine in their lifetime (YRBS, 2023) (Figure 6).

Regional Differences by Race/Ethnicity

In LAC and the US, Latinx high school students had the highest prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine in 2005 (12.2% and 8.8%, respectively), but this has since decreased consistently to 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively in 2021 (Figure 7). 

The prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine among high school students of other race/ethnic groups fluctuated over the period. In 2021, whites had the highest prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine compared to other race/ethnic groups in LAC (Figure 7).

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2003-2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Youth Online High School Results for Los Angeles. ‚ÄčAvailable at: https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Results.aspx?LID=LO. Accessed on 2023 July 14.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2016-2018 Substate Estimates. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/nsduh/substate-reports

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Tables 1.1A, 1.1B, 4.4B