Meth Related Crimes
Continue to Grow
D.C. – County law enforcement
officials across 44 states reported that Methamphetamine remains the number one
drug problem in their county, according to a new survey released today by the
National Association of Counties (NACo).
In addition, the survey of 500 county law
enforcement officials found that while Meth lab seizures are down significantly
– due largely to new precursor laws – crimes related to Meth continue to grow;
that Meth has increased the workload of public safety officials; that Meth use
remains popular in western states and is spreading east across America; that the
majority of Meth currently being abused is imported from out-of-state locations;
and that Meth related arrests continue to represent a high proportion of crimes
that require incarceration.
The survey, “The Methamphetamine Epidemic: The
Criminal Effect of Meth on Communities,” was conducted by NACo to determine the
effect of Methamphetamine abuse on counties and their residents and to raise
public awareness of the Meth epidemic.
“The abuse of this highly addictive
brain-altering drug continues to destroy lives and strain essential county
America,” said NACo President
Bill Hansell, commissioner,
Ore. “NACo has taken a leadership role in
fighting Meth abuse and conducts these surveys because counties are on the front
lines in responding to the Methamphetamine epidemic. Meth abuse causes
remarkable financial, legal, medical, environmental, and social problems for
The NACo survey found that:
Meth continues to be the number one drug
More counties (48 percent) reported that Meth is the primary drug problem –
more than cocaine (22 percent), marijuana (22 percent) and heroin (3 percent)
Crimes related to Meth continue to grow.
Fifty-five percent of law enforcement officials reported an increase in
robberies or burglaries in the last year, 48 percent reported an increase in
domestic violence and 41 percent reported an increase in simple assaults.
Thirty-one percent reported an increase in identity theft crime, which is up
from the 27 percent reported in the July 2005 law enforcement survey.
Legislation that restricts the sale of
Ninety percent of counties have some kind of precursor legislation in effect.
Forty-six percent reported that the number of Meth lab busts is down because
of precursor legislation in their jurisdictions.
Meth has increased the workload of public
Sixty-three percent of counties reported an increased workload in the last
year and 73 percent reported that they are playing more overtime.
Meth use remains popular in the west
and is spreading east.
Wyoming, 100 percent reported that Meth is
the number one drug. However, this information was followed by
Oklahoma with 88 percent reporting Meth is
Iowa at 79 percent,
Louisiana at 75 percent,
Nebraska at 74 percent and
Oregon at 71 percent. This information
correlates with the national trend that Meth is a drug that is largely popular
in western rural areas and is spreading across the country from west to east.
Georgia 63 percent reported that
Meth is number one. In
North Carolina 44 percent reported that
Meth is number one, and in
Alabama 43 percent reported that Meth is
number one. This information verifies law enforcement trends that Meth is
growing dramatically in the Southeastern region of the country.
The majority of Meth currently being
abused is from outside of the state.
Eighty-five percent reported out-of-state importation and 71 percent reported
Meth related arrests continue to
represent a high proportion of crimes that require incarceration.
Forty-eight percent of the counties reported that up to one in five inmates
are incarcerated because of Meth related crimes. Seventeen percent reported
that one in two inmates are incarcerated because of Meth related crimes.
The new survey is the fifth released in 12
months by NACo, the only national organization that represents county
governments. In July 2005, NACo released two surveys on the impact of Meth
abuse on counties. Key findings indicated that Meth was the top drug threat to
county law enforcement officials and that Meth was responsible for an increase
in out-of-home placements for children. In January 2006, NACo released two
additional surveys that found that Meth was the largest drug that drove people
to county public hospital emergency rooms and that the need for Meth treatment
“The primary objective of our effort is to
promote action by the Administration and Congress to control and reduce the
production, distribution and abuse of Meth, including assistance to counties in
responding to the problem locally,” Hansell said. “We need a comprehensive
strategy that will deal with all aspects of the Meth problem.”
NACo retained the services of Research,
D.C. to conduct the telephone survey. All
survey responses were collected in June. The full survey is available at www.naco.org.