Methamphetamine can be highly addictive in both short and long-term use due to the fast effects they produce in the brain.

There are currently no FDA-approved medications available to treat methamphetamine use disorder; however, various forms of psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, drug counseling, and relapse prevention) have been shown to be effective in reducing its use and its commonly associated psychiatric symptoms (Stuart 2019).  

Meth Treatment Admissions in LAC

Across all publicly funded substance use disorder (SUD) programs in LAC from fiscal year FY1112 to FY2122, there were 138,243 treatment admission in which clients reported methamphetamine as their primary drug problem.    

The number of treatment clients and admissions for methamphetamine has been increasing since FY1112. Similarly, the proportion of all treatment clients and admissions with primary methamphetamine problem increased since FY1112 (Figures 1-2).

Demographics of Meth Treatment

Route of Administration

The manner in how methamphetamine is used is important in its abuse risk potential. Each route of administration provides a different level of euphoric response, with some heightening blood stimulant levels at a faster rate and thus providing a “high” feeling instantly. Smoking and inhalation are known as the most popular methods of using methamphetamine, as their effects are experienced quickly and result in “highs” similar to that by injection and are viewed by users as a safer option than injection which is associated with more negative health outcomes (Rawson, 1999). 

In LAC, from FY1112-FY2122, smoking was the most frequently reported route of administration (77%), followed by inhalation (11%), and injection (9%) among primary methamphetamine clients (Figure 9). This pattern remained similar over the past decade (Figure 10).


Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 33.) Chapter 5—Medical Aspects of Stimulant Use Disorders. Available from:

Faraone, S. V., Rostain, A. L., Montano, C. B., Mason, O., Antshel, K. M., & Newcorn, J. H. (2020). Systematic Review: Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants: Risk Factors, Outcomes, and Risk Reduction Strategies. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry59(1), 100–112.

Los Angeles County Participant Reporting System (LACPRS). Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

Stuart, A. M., Baker, A. L., Denham, A. M. J., Lee, N. K., Hall, A., Oldmeadow, C., Dunlop, A., Bowman, J., & McCarter, K. (2020). Psychological treatment for methamphetamine use and associated psychiatric symptom outcomes: A systematic review. Journal of substance abuse treatment109, 61–79.

Treatment Resources

For information on substance use disorder treatment service availability in LAC, call the Substance Abuse Service Helpline (SASH) at 844-804-7500, or use the web-based Service & Bed Availability Tool (SBAT).

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