Use Prevalence

Past Year Use

In the U.S., past year methamphetamine use among individuals aged 12 or older increased from 0.6% in 2015 to 0.9% in 2020 (Figure 1), amounting to about 2.5 million users, of which about 153,000 were new users.  An estimated 1.5 million (0.6%) developed methamphetamine use disorder for dependence and abuse (NSDUH, 2020).

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). 

(Note: Caution should be used comparing estimates between 2020 and prior years due to methodological changes in the NSDUH 2020.)

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 and 2018-2020 (Figure 3).

In LAC, past year methamphetamine use increased consistently with age. Compared to 2016-2018, methamphetamine use increased slightly among adults, and decreased slightly among youth and young adults in 2018-2020 (Figure 4.).

Ever Use

Among high school students, the percent that had ever used methamphetamine has been decreasing from 2003-2019 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).

(Note: No data was available for California until 2015.)

Demographics

Male high school students had a higher estimated prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine than female students in LAC for most years during the 2003-2019 period. The estimated prevalence among females was higher than that of males in 2005, 2007, and 2017. 

As of 2019, 4.2% of male students and 2.0% of female students have ever used methamphetamine in their lifetime (YRBS, 2021) (Figure 6).

In LAC, Latinx high school students had the highest prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine in 2005 (12.2%), but this has since decreased consistently to 2.2% in 2017 (Figure 7). In 2019, Latinx's prevalence has increased to 3.6%; prevalence data for other races in 2019 were not available. 

The prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine among high school students of other race/ethnic groups fluctuated over the period. In 2017, whites had the highest prevalence of ever use of methamphetamine compared to other race/ethnic groups (Figure 7)

References

Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Retrieved from https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/App/Results.aspx?LID=LO. Retreived 2021.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). 2020. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Tables 1.1A, 1.1B, 4.4B.