• 6 things to know about meth in America

    By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Methamphetamine use has long been an issue in the United States, with millions of Americans trying the illicit and highly addictive drug in their lifetimes.

    In a recent highly publicized case, a mother in Uintah County, Utah, was accused of leaving her 9-year-old daughter inside a home while she went to use meth with a friend on Easter. According to sheriff's deputies, four men in the home sexually assaulted her daughter while she was away.

    Here are some things to know about the drug:

    Some basic facts

    Germans first created amphetamine in 1887, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. In 1919 methamphetamine, more potent than amphetamine, was developed in Japan.

    In the United States, the drug is used in extremely limited circumstances to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It has been under government regulation since at least 1970.

    About 13 million Americans admit to having tried meth

    About 13 million Americans -- 4 percent of the population -- say they've used meth at least once in their lives, according to data released in September by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    The agency said 1.3 million people reported using meth in the past year. Just over half of that number, 569,000, said they used the substance in the past month

    Meth is the drug most linked to violent crime

    According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, meth is the drug most often linked to violent and property crimes.

    In its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, the DEA said 38.2 percent of responding agencies linked meth to violent crime and 33.4 percent linked the drug to property crimes.

    Meth labs most commonly busted in Illinois

    A majority of the 9,240 meth lab-related incidents reported nationwide in 2014 were in Illinois, according to the most recent data from the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center. The state saw 1,471 cases related to clandestine labs. On the other end of the spectrum, two states reported no meth-lab related incidents: Alaska and Hawaii.

    Meth is considered the biggest threat in the western U.S.

    Law enforcement agencies reporting to the DEA ranked meth as the greatest drug threat in their areas predominantly on the western side of the country. According to the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Survey, 69.7 percent of respondents in the Southwest, 66.5 percent in the West Central region and 55.4 percent in the Pacific region rated meth as the No. 1 threat.

    The numbers may have something to do with the fact that most meth seized by authorities was made in Mexico and smuggled across the southwest border, according to the DEA.

    Meth-related reports rise, but use remains stable

    Since 2009, meth-related reports to the National Forensic Laboratory Information System have risen significantly, according to the DEA. In that year the system received 134,900 reports. In 2013, it got 206,800 reports, an increase of 55.3 percent.

    The number of reports, however, has not appeared to affect estimated use, which has stayed relatively steady in recent years, according to data from SAMHSA.

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