Dramatic Increase in National Treatment Admissions for Methamphetamine

Source: Center for Substance Abuse Research, CESAR Fax 6/07/06

The number of national treatment admissions reporting methamphetamine as the primary substance of abuse increased dramatically from 1992 to 2004, according to data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). In 1992, 14,570 treatment admissions reported methamphetamine as the primary substance of abuse (comprising 1% of all admissions), compared to 129,079 in 2004 (7% of all admissions). At the same time, the proportion of methamphetamine treatment admissions that were referred by the criminal justice system also increased, from 38% to 51%. Referrals from individuals (including self-referrals) decreased over this period (from 34% to 24%) as did those from substance abuse care providers (from 9% to 5%; data not shown). Caution should be used in utilizing treatment admissions data as an indicator of use or dependence since treatment admissions may also be influenced by changes in law enforcement and sentencing practices as well as changes in legislation which divert drug offenders to treatment.