|September 17, 2004|
Primary Methamphetamine/Amphetamine Treatment Admissions: 1992-2002
Amphetamines and methamphetamine are central nervous system stimulants. They were the primary substance of abuse1 in more than 124,000 substance abuse treatment admissions in 2002 (almost 7 percent of all admissions). Methamphetamine was the primary drug of abuse reported in more than 90 percent of these admissions in 2002. However, since some States do not list amphetamines and methamphetamine separately,2 for the purpose of this report, this group of drugs will be referred to as methamphetamine/amphetamine. This report will focus on changes in treatment admissions reported to the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) between 1992 and 2002 in which the primary substance of abuse was methamphetamine/amphetamine.3 TEDS is an annual compilation of data on the demographic characteristics and substance abuse problems of those admitted for substance abuse treatment.
In 1992, substance abuse treatment admissions involving either methamphetamine or amphetamines as their primary substance of abuse were relatively rare, making up just over 1 percent of admissions to TEDS-or approximately 10 admissions per 100,000 population aged 12 or older (Figure 1).4 By 2002, the proportion of TEDS admissions reporting primary methamphetamine/amphetamine had increased to almost 7 percent-or 52 admissions per 100,000 population.
Methamphetamine/amphetamines can be injected, inhaled, taken orally, or smoked. Smoked methamphetamine/amphetamine is often referred to as "ice." In 1992, 39 percent of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admissions inhaled the substance, while 12 percent smoked it (Figure 2). By 2002, this distribution had changed substantially-only 17 percent inhaled and 50 percent of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admissions reported smoking. Other routes of administration changed slightly or remained stable during this time.
Between 1992 and 2002, the demographics of methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admissions changed slightly. The distribution of males remained stable at around 55 percent of admissions. The mean age at admission increased from 29 years old in 1992 to 31 years old in 2002.
The proportion of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admissions of each race/ethnicity changed somewhat during this time. In 1992, the majority of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admissions were White (83 percent). While Whites were still the majority in 2002, their proportion declined to 74 percent of admissions. Also of note, the proportion of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admissions involving those who identified themselves as Hispanic (specifically Mexican)5 increased during this time (from 6 percent of primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admissions in 1992 to 12 percent in 2002).
The source of referral to treatment changed between 1992 and 2002. In 1992, 38
percent of these admissions were referred to treatment by the criminal justice
system. By 2002, the criminal justice system was the source of referral in more
than 50 percent of the primary methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admissions.
By 2002, 19 States had rates in excess of the national rate (52 admissions per 100,000 population), and 12 had primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admission rates of more than twice the national rate-104 or more admissions per 100,000 population. Ten of the 19 States were in the West, 7 were in the Midwest, and 2 in the South. Again, the highest primary methamphetamine/amphetamine admission rate was in Oregon-324 admissions per 100,000.
1 The primary substance of abuse is the main substance reported at the time of admission.
2 The States that did not report methamphetamine separately from amphetamines in 2002 were Arkansas, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. For the purposes of this analysis, these two substances have been combined.
3 For a previous report on amphetamine treatment admissions, see Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. The DASIS report: Characteristics of primary amphetamine treatment admissions: 2001. Rockville, MD. April 30, 2004.
4 National rates were calculated using admissions from States reporting primary substance of abuse for 1992 and 2002 and the combined population aged 12 or older in the reporting States.
5 Detailed ethnicity is requested of all States; however, some do not report this variable. In 2002, five States (Alabama, DC, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) did not report detailed ethnicity for 50 percent or more of their admissions.
This page was last updated on May 16, 2008.