Meth is on the Rise


Across the United States, overdose deaths from psychostimulants—the category of drugs that includes meth—have increased more than 800 percent in the past decade. Those numbers may be rising because meth is purer and more potent than ever before. It may also be because people are combining meth with other drugs, including opioids. Some individuals who are trying to stop using opioids turn to meth to ease their withdrawal symptoms. Deaths also may be due to the risky behavior that comes with meth use or its stress on the heart.

Historically, the major opioid epidemics of the early 1900s and the 1970s were followed by increased use of stimulants—meth or cocaine. The United States has been battling an opioid epidemic since 2002, which has intensified since 2013, and meth is cheaper and more accessible than cocaine. In 2014, U.S. Customs seized nearly twenty thousand pounds of meth; in 2019, more than sixty-eight thousand pounds were seized. There is clearly cause for concern about rising meth use.