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Is Meth in California Making a Comeback?

Is Meth in California Making a Comeback?

In recent years, the opioid epidemic has been stealing the spotlight in the war on drugs.

Headline after headline concerns opioid overdoses and the danger of prescription drug abuse. While this class of drugs is concerning, it is not the only drug of abuse that people should be worried about. The history of meth in the United States is long and torrid. This drug has been around for years with varying degrees of popularity. Although its use was believed to be in decline, it seems to be making a comeback.

Meth Use in California

Although methamphetamine is legal in the United States for limited medical uses, it is mostly used illegally and recreationally to get high. California itself has strict laws about the possession and sale of street meth, but even with these laws in place, meth in California is a growing problem.

Although the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 began enforcing stricter regulation of over-the-counter ingredients used to make methamphetamine, this has not stopped outside production. One report found that the amount of methamphetamine seized at the southwest border of the United States increased steadily from 2007 to 2016. This influx of meth in California and other states in the area also led to what is believed to be a steady increase in meth use from 2010 to 2016.1

The result of this increase in meth abuse in California has turned deadly. Reports suggest that the number of amphetamine overdose deaths in California increased 212% from 2012 to 2018.2 While amphetamine can include a variety of drugs, methamphetamine tends to be the largest offender. Even more concerning than this steady rise is how it compares to other drugs. Even though the focus has been on opioids, overdoses from amphetamines like methamphetamine in California totaled 2,427 in 2018; elsewhere, the number of opioid overdose deaths in the same year was 2,428.2 In the San Francisco Bay area, reports suggest that methamphetamine has been the leading cause of overdose deaths in the area for a few years now.3 If meth abuse continues to rise, meth overdose deaths in California may surpass those of opioids throughout the state.

While the State of California is doing their best to combat its drug problem, many programs (naloxone distribution, prescription drug monitoring program, opioid safety coalitions, etc.) focus on opioids. There are meth detox programs in California to help those who have already become addicted, but there are not as many preventative programs for methamphetamine. If the rise in meth in California continues, the State may need to adjust their programs accordingly.

At Banyan Palm Springs, we are a residential drug rehab that helps people with varying addictions, including a meth addiction, find sobriety. Do not let your addiction or the addiction of someone you care about meet their end too soon. Get help today.

To learn more about our programs or to begin the admissions process, contact us today at 888-280-4763..


  1. Rand Corporation- What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, 2006–2016
  2. California Department of Public Health- Overdose Prevention Initiative (OPI)
  3. San Francisco Chronicle- Chronicle exclusive: Bay Area death toll from drug overdoses passes 10,000
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.