Nearly 60% of county
officials reported that methamphetamine is the largest drug problem in
their county according to a new survey released by the
National Association of Counties (NACo). In a news release following
the survey, NACo President and Lake County, Ill. Board Member Angelo D.
Kyle noted, “County governments across America are on the front lines in
responding to the methamphetamine crisis. For counties, Meth abuse causes
legal, medical, environmental and social problems.”
Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. conducted the surveys. Results from 500
counties in 45 states comprise the survey, “The Criminal Effect of Meth on
Communities.” Here is a summary of the survey results.
Criminal Effect of Meth on Communities
Meth is a growing problem that is now national in scope.
Of the 500 responding law enforcement agencies, 87% report increases
in Meth related arrests starting three years ago.
Meth is the leading drug-related local law enforcement problem in the
58% of counties in this survey said that methamphetamine was their
largest drug problem. Meth was followed by cocaine (19%), marijuana (17%)
or heroin (3%) as the number one drug problem.
Meth related arrests represent a high proportion of crimes requiring
50% of the counties estimated that 1 in 5 of their current jail
inmates were housed because of Meth related crimes. The problem is even
worse in the other half of the counties surveyed. Seventeen percent of
the counties report that more than half of their populations are
incarcerated because of Meth related crimes.
Other crimes are increasing as a result of Meth.
70% of the responding officials say that robberies or burglaries have
increased because of Meth use, while 62% report increases in domestic
violence. In addition, simple assaults (53%) and identity thefts (27%)
have also increased.
second survey focused on the impact Meth has on children and the social
services system. These results are based on responses from 303 counties
from all 13 states where child welfare activities are performed at the
county level. The major findings include:
Meth is a major cause of child abuse and neglect:
of all the child welfare officials in the survey report increased out of
home placements because of Meth in the last year. During the past five
years, 71% of the responding counties in California reported an increase
in out of home placements because of Meth and 70% of Colorado counties
reported an increase. More than 69% of counties in Minnesota reported a
growth in out of home placements because of Meth during the last year, as
did 54% of the responding counties in North Dakota.
hurts children and families over the long-term.
County officials were asked if the particular nature of the Meth
user/parent has increased the difficulty of family reunification. 59%
complete analysis of both surveys is
available online. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the
free Adobe Acrobat Reader here.