Meth use down in county

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Methamphetamine use in and around San Diego dropped significantly between 2005 and 2009, county officials said Wednesday.

According to the Methamphetamine Task Force Report Card:

— deaths from the drug declined 43 percent during the five-year period;
— admissions to hospitals for overdoses fell 17 percent;
— arrests of adults who tested positive for the drug fell 41 percent;
— and arrests for sales and possession fell by more than half.

Despite improvements in 2009 — the last year for which figures were available — 138 people died from using methamphetamine and 28 percent of arrested adults tested positive for the drug.

The percentage of juvenile arrestees testing positive fell from 21 percent in 2005 to 6 percent in 2009, but officials said the sample size was small.

“While we're seeing significant progress in some areas, meth continues to take a toll on people's physical and mental well-being,” said Nick Macchione, director of the county Health and Human Services Agency.

The region was considered the “Meth Capital of the World” when the strike force was created in 1996.

The report said the drug was harder to get, less pure and more expensive than in the past.

A San Diego Association of Governments report cited in the study showed the county's cost of dealing with methamphetamine was $2,000 per addict per month.

HHSA officials urged people addicted to meth, or those who suspect drug activity in their neighborhood, to the Meth Hotline at (877) no2meth, or (877) 662-6384. Meth-related crimes also can be reported anonymously online at no2meth.org.

Categories: KUSI