Teen Meth Use


Some encouraging news is that community action and prevention efforts to reduce teen meth use are working. Among teenagers, meth use has steadily declined since it peaked in 1999. The rate of past year meth use dropped from 4.7 percent in 1999 to 0.5 percent in 2019 among twelfth graders, from 4.6 to 0.5 percent among tenth graders, and from 3.2 percent to 0.5 percent among eighth graders.

It’s clear that drug education has been successful and needs to continue. In 2003, about 50 percent of twelfth graders were aware that taking crystal meth once or twice was a “great risk.” Fifteen years later, nearly 70 percent of twelfth graders see taking crystal meth as a “great risk.”

While teen use may be dropping overall, many of the teens who do try meth quickly become addicted—and face all the resulting consequences of addiction. Honor roll students fail school, and teens with clean records start stealing from friends and family to fuel their addiction. Some teenagers still think of meth as safer, longer lasting, and easier to buy than cocaine. Fourteen-and fifteen-year-olds have been caught using and selling the drug.