A recent report from the Rand Drug Policy Research Center shows that in some states methamphetamine use is up from previous years. For example, the state of Colorado ranks eighth in the nation in per capita methamphetamine use, which is higher than the state of New York. One reason for high meth use in Colorado is that the population is young and transient because of seasonal ski-resort workers and oil-field workers. The cost of meth use and labs for the state of Colorado is roughly $1.4 billion a year. States such as Arizona and Wyoming are also seeing an increase in meth use and meth labs because of the easy highway access (I-25) from Mexico through these states.
In the state of Minnesota, meth use and meth labs have been declining since 2005 due to the passage and enactment of an anti-meth legislation.
The Rand report goes on to say that the majority of meth users live in rural areas and half of the users are women. Women account for only 25 percent of abusers of other drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana. Meth users usually steal credit cards and checks from mailboxes and use them to purchase their meth. One gang of meth addicts stole a U.S. Postal Service blue drop box and moved it to different locations every few days.
The costs to the public include the burden of arresting and incarcerating drug offenders, as well as the costs of additional non-drug crimes caused by methamphetamine use, such as thefts committed to support a drug habit. Other costs that significantly contribute to the RAND estimate include lost productivity, the expense of removing children from their parents’ homes because of methamphetamine use and spending for drug treatment.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that can be taken orally, injected, snorted or smoked. Long-term effects of meth use can include severe weight loss, diminished memory, mood disturbances and psychosis, extreme tooth decay, aggressive and violent behavior, and irreversible damage to certain brain functions.