While the nation fights the opioid crisis, parts of the U.S. are also battling another substance problem. Methamphetamine addiction is on the rise in many states, creating overdoses and deaths.
Certain states are feeling the impact of methamphetamine more than others. This can be because of a wide range of factors, including proximity to major drug zones, density of population, and unemployment levels.
Below we’ll list the top 10 states that have meth abuse problems.
What Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that comes in a white powder or rock crystal-like form. It can be smoked, injected, snorted, or taken as a pill. It stems from the drug amphetamine, which has many of the same characteristics as methamphetamine.
In rare cases, methamphetamine is prescribed by doctors to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and short-term weight loss treatment, though this is rarely used anymore. This is because methamphetamine is highly addictive, with its effects being very powerful on the central nervous system. Depending on the way it’s ingested, effects can be felt more or less.
Its effects wear off quickly, creating a desire for more of the drug. This leads to what is known as binges, where people will go for days or weeks without eating and sleeping. There are many harsh short-term effects of methamphetamine that can lead to dangerous long-term mental, physical, and emotional consequences.
Some short- and long-term effects of methamphetamine use are:
- increased wakefulness
- decreased appetite
- rapid heart rate
- irregular heartbeats
- increased blood pressure
- a rush of euphoria
- spikes in energy levels
- development of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, insomnia, or depression
- hallucinations, delirium, extreme paranoia, and psychosis
- reduced motor speed
- damaged decision-making and judgment due to structural and physical brain changes
- trouble paying attention
- memory loss
- teeth and jaw decay
- increased risk of heart attack, strokes, and contracting HIV
- damaged blood vessels
- weight loss
The most dangerous effect methamphetamine has is the potential for addiction. Addiction forms when the discomfort from withdrawal symptoms becomes too harsh for someone to cope with.
In order to avoid these feelings, one will continue to ingest the drug, despite knowing the risks. When someone becomes addicted to methamphetamine, or any substance, it can cause them to affect themselves and their surroundings in negative ways.
Addiction can look like:
- lying, cheating, or stealing about drug use
- long bouts of isolation
- missing out on family, work, and social obligations
- overall disheveled look and appearance
The Top States with Meth Abuse Problems
The rise of methamphetamine use has gotten overlooked due to the nation’s current opioid crisis. In 2020, over two million people aged 12 years or older reported using the drug. Even though this is a lower rate than previous years, methamphetamine still continues to be an issue.
There are certain states that have higher drug rates than others. Ten states reported a high abundance of methamphetamine laboratory incidents. This means that these states had high rates of laboratory raids, drug use and manufacturing paraphernalia seizures, and drug dumpsites found.
The top 10 states with high meth incidents:
- Michigan (220)
- New York (220)
- Indiana (144)
- Illinois (129)
- North Carolina (127)
- California (114)
- Pennsylvania (105)
- Tennessee (102)
- Ohio (60)
- Florida (59)
Many of these states are in the midwest and northeast states, besides Florida and California. These latter states, along with New York, have always been high drug use states. This can be because of their proximity to drug zones and drug routes, and being known as party states.
However, a majority of these states are located in the midwest. These are relatively far from drug manufacturing zones, and not close to drug routes. So it may seem strange that these places have high methamphetamine use.
The rise can be explained by how methamphetamine is produced. Even though it requires a dangerous and expensive process, these states are perfect for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Midwestern states have plentiful rural areas. This wide-open and reclusive space is optimal for creating methamphetamine with less fear of others knowing what they’re doing. Also, with relatively fewer opportunities for social life, jobs, and other activities, boredom and stress can creep in, leading to an increase in substance abuse.