According to the United Nations World Drug Report, the amount of methamphetamine seized worldwide has nearly quadrupled from 2009 to 2014, spiking in 2012, with the sharpest increase in East and South-East Asia. Though the number has increased overall since 2009, the spread and growth of methamphetamine use has slowed down from 2012-2014 compared to 2009-2014.
According to the DEA and 2011 NSDUH survey, 11.9 million people in the United States (roughly 4%) reported nonmedical methamphetamine use at least once in their lifetime. According to the same survey, there were 133,000 people aged 12 and older that used meth for the first time that year.
The U.N.’s report shows that methamphetamine is third amongst drugs most commonly tied to unemployment in the United States behind heroin and crack, with 25% of past-month users being unemployed.
According to a RAND study conducted in 2014 to detail America’s drug use from 2000-2010, methamphetamine estimates are “subject to greatest uncertainty” because of several legal changes that occurred during the decade, as well as gaps in data collection from 2004-2006 when meth use was believed to be at its peak. The best estimate from the study is that the number of chronic methamphetamine users increased from 0.9 million in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2010, with a sharp peak from 2005-2006 with 2.6 million chronic users. According to a SAMHSA study that number decreased to 1.6 million nonmedical stimulant users in 2014.
Mexican superlabs are the main providers of meth to US users, and Southeast Asia is a lesser sources as well. Smaller labs were a growing problem in the US, particularly in the southwest, but precursor laws (such as restrictions on pseudoephedrine) have reduced the number of lab seizures in the United States from over 10,000 in 2003 to around 6,000 in 2010 according to the RAND study.
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