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SAMHSA News - November/December 2005, Volume 13, Number 6

Methamphetamine Update

Recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate a significant increase in the estimated number of past-month methamphetamine users who met criteria for illicit drug dependence or abuse in the past 12 months.

The report, from SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies, is titled Methamphetamine Use, Abuse, and Dependence: 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Past-month methamphetamine users who met criteria for illicit drug abuse or dependence increased from 164,000 (27.5 percent) in 2002 to 346,000 (59.3 percent) in 2004. However, the estimated number of persons age 12 or older who used methamphetamine in the past year in 2004 (1.4 million) and in the past month (600,000) remained similar to numbers in 2002 and 2003.

Averages for 2002, 2003, and 2004 indicate that the rate of past-year methamphetamine use was higher for young adults age 18 to 25 (1.6 percent) than for youth age 12 to 17 (0.7 percent), who, in turn, had a higher rate than adults age 26 or older (0.4 percent).

Among all persons age 12 or older, the rate of past-year use was higher among males (0.7 percent) than females (0.5 percent).

The data ranked 12 western states, including Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana, among the top third of states highest in past-year use of methamphetamine. Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina were among the states with the lowest rates.

Dependence or abuse is defined using criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) used by psychiatrists for their diagnoses. The annual survey of close to 70,000 people asked about both illicit methamphetamine, as well as prescription methamphetamine use (nonmedical).

The report is available on SAMHSA's Web site at

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