|September 16, 2005|
Treatment admissions of persons with primary methamphetamine use problems increased from 21,000 in 1993 to 117,000 in 2003 according to the Treatment Episode Data Set.1 This report examines trends and patterns in the prevalence and incidence of methamphetamine use and a proxy measure of methamphetamine abuse or dependence based on data from the 2002, 2003, and 2004 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH asks persons aged 12 or older to report on their use of illicit drugs, including nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers, and sedatives. Nonmedical use is defined as use of prescription-type drugs not prescribed for the respondent by a physician or used only for the experience or feeling they caused. Over-the-counter drugs are not included. Questions about methamphetamine use are included as part of the module on non-medical use of prescription-type stimulants.2 Methamphetamine as recorded by NSDUH includes both prescription preparations (i.e., Desoxyn® and Methedrine) and non-prescription/illicit methamphetamine.
Respondents who acknowledged illicit drug use in the past 12 months were also asked to report symptoms of dependence or abuse they experienced during that period. Dependence or abuse is defined using criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)3 and includes such symptoms as withdrawal, tolerance, use in dangerous situations, trouble with the law, and interference in major obligations at work, school, or home during the past year. Questions about abuse and dependence symptoms are asked separately for each class of drugs used but not for each specific drug. As NSDUH does not include abuse and dependence questions on methamphetamine as such, this report provides information on abuse and dependence involving any illicit drug4 and any stimulant among current methamphetamine users.
Methamphetamine use among the civilian non-institutional population aged 12 or older remained stable between 2002 and 2004. In 2004, an estimated 12 million persons (4.9 percent of persons aged 12 or older) had used methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime, 1.4 million (0.6 percent) had used it in the past year, and 600,000 (0.2 percent) had used it in the past month.
In 2004, an estimated 318,000 persons were recent initiates of methamphetamine use, meaning that they had used it for the first time in the 12 months before the survey. Between 2002 and 2004, the number of recent methamphetamine initiates remained level at around 300,000 per year. The average age at first use among new users was 18.9 years in 2002, 20.4 years in 2003, and 22.1 years in 2004.
|Figure 1. Methamphetamine Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Dependence and Abuse: 2002, 2003, and 2004||Figure 2. Methamphetamine Use in Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Gender and Age: 2002, 2003, and 2004|
Although the number of past year and past month methamphetamine users did not change significantly between 2002 and 2004, the number of past month methamphetamine users who met criteria for abuse of or dependence on one or more illicit drugs in the past 12 months increased from 164,000 (27.5 percent of past month methamphetamine users) in 2002 to 346,000 (59.3 percent) in 2004 (Figure 1).5 The number of past month methamphetamine users meeting criteria for stimulant abuse or dependence increased from 63,000 (10.6 percent) in 2002 to 130,000 (22.3 percent) in 2004.
Averages for 2002, 2003, and 2004 indicate that the rate of past year methamphetamine use was higher for young adults aged 18 to 25 (1.6 percent) than for youths aged 12 to 17 (0.7 percent), who, in turn, had a higher rate than adults aged 26 or older (0.4 percent) (Figure 2). Among all persons 12 years of age or older, the rate of past year use was higher among males (0.7 percent) than females (0.5 percent). The highest rates of past year methamphetamine use were found among Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders (2.2 percent), American Indians or Alaska Natives (1.7 percent) and persons reporting two or more races (1.9 percent) (Figure 3).6 Past year methamphetamine use among whites (0.7 percent) and Hispanics (0.5 percent) was higher than among blacks (0.1 percent) or Asians (0.2 percent).
|Figure 3. Methamphetamine Use in Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Race/Ethnicity: 2002, 2003, and 2004||Figure 4. Methamphetamine Use in Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by State: 2002, 2003, and 2004|
The 50 States and the District of Columbia were divided into thirds based on the percentage of the population aged 12 or older who had used methamphetamine in the past year (Figure 4). Twelve states in the West,7 including Nevada (2.2 percent), Wyoming, and Montana (1.5 percent each),8 ranked among the top third of states for past year methamphetamine use. Connecticut (less than 0.1 percent), New York, and North Carolina (0.12 percent each) were among the states with the lowest rates; all nine states in the Northeast were in the lowest third.
The rate of past year methamphetamine use was higher in counties in small metropolitan areas (0.7 percent) and counties not in metropolitan areas (0.8 percent) than in counties in large metropolitan areas (0.5 percent).
Source: SAMHSA, 2002, 2003, and 2004 NSDUH.
|The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prior to 2002, this survey was called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). The 2002, 2003, and 2004 data are based on information obtained from 203,670 persons aged 12 or older, including 9,143 lifetime methamphetamine users, 2,018 past year users, and 717 past month users. The survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population through face-to-face interviews at their place of residence.
The NSDUH Report is prepared by the Office of Applied Studies (OAS), SAMHSA, and by RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. (RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute.)
Information and data for this issue are based on the following publications:
Office of Applied Studies. (2005). Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 05-4062, NSDUH Series H-28). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Office of Applied Studies. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3964, NSDUH Series H-25). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Office of Applied Studies. (2003). Results from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (DHHS Publication No. SMA 03-3836, NSDUH Series H-22). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Also available online: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov
Because of improvements and modifications to the 2002 NSDUH, estimates from the 2002 and 2003 surveys should not be compared with estimates from the 2001 or earlier versions of the survey to examine changes over time.
The NSDUH Report (formerly The NHSDA Report) is published periodically by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from SAMHSA. Additional copies of this report or other reports from the Office of Applied Studies are available on-line: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov. Citation of the source is appreciated. For questions about this report please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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