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map - the reach of meth

Since it's first incarnation as a niche drug among West Coast biker gangs, methamphetamine has reached every state in the nation, and its effect on families and communities has been devastating. There are now more than 1.4 million meth users in the United States, and rising. The map below shows the spread of the epidemic through the states, based on the number of meth users admitted for drug treatment per 100,000 residents in 2003, the most recent year for which nationwide data is available. Click on each state for information about drug treatment admissions, meth lab seizures, and recent state laws (including 2004) aimed at combating the epidemic.

Update: The Combat Meth Act, signed by President Bush on March 9, 2006, provides minimum standards for retailers across the country that sell products containing ephedrine and psuedo ephedrine. The law limits sales to 3.6 grams of the base ingredient (the pure ephedrine or pseudoephedrine) per day and 9 grams per 30 days, and requires that purchasers provide identification and sign a sales log. In addition, sellers must now keeps these products behind the counter or in a locked case and register on-line with the U.S. Attorney General.(Switch to the text version of this map.)

Number of meth users in rehab per 100,000 state residents in 2003, the last year for which data is available for all 50 states.

Less than 5

5 to 15

16 to 50

51 or more

[map of the u.s.]



A Note on Sources: This map was created using the most recent state information available on meth use and production provided by the 2005 Drug Enforcement Administration state factsheets, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Treatment Episode Data Set, and from FRONTLINE research into state laws regulating ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, including a list of recently enacted legislation compiled by the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws. Special thanks to Steve Suo of The Oregonian for the use of his collected meth statistics.


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posted feb. 14, 2006; updated march 21, 2006; updated may 16, 2011

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