The Meth Problem in Arizona

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As many Americans are aware, the opioid crisis has swept the nation over the past decade. In 2018, 67,367 Americans died of an opioid-related drug overdose. Although that number was 4.1% lower than the previous year, the opioid problem is still a major problem. Further, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1,106 Arizonans died of an opioid overdose in 2018. That’s a rate of 15.9. However, although the opioid crisis is a terrible problem both nationally and in Arizona, meth is an even bigger problem in this state.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Phoenix, methamphetamines are the number one drug threat in Arizona. The DEA determined this by tracking the increase of meth seizures seen by police officers in Arizona. In fact, meth availability in Arizona has gone up by almost 100%, according to Governor Doug Ducey.

According to the DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment from 2017, meth is a problem in Arizona especially because its proximity to the Mexico border. According to their 2019 assessment, the Southwestern Mexican-American border continued to be a hotspot for meth as well as fentanyl. Since 2015, officers have seized approximately 5,584 pounds of meth at the border near Tucson, AZ, in 2016. That adds up to about $20.6 million worth of meth. That is also a 98% increase from 2015. Clearly, meth is a serious problem in Arizona. If you would like to learn more about this problem, as well as about treatment options, then please call (480) 378-0660 today.

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Effects of Meth on the Brain

Meth usage is such a serious problem because of its long-term and short-term effects on the brain. First, meth causes serious physical and psychological damage to users. Second, since meth is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant, it affects the central nervous system. Third, meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Ultimately, one can divide the effects of meth into short-term effects and long-term effects.


There are several short-term effects of meth. Some of these include being more awake or doing more physical activity. Another symptom is decreased appetite. Some even use methamphetamines to lose weight. Additionally, a user may experience faster breathing, rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, increased body temperature, and increased blood pressure.


Additionally, there are several long-term effects of meth. For example, users might contract diseases that are normally transmitted through bodily fluids. For example, users become at risk for HIV, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. Further, prolonged meth use can lead to rotting teeth and gums. On the emotional side, using meth can lead people to engage in risky or dangerous behavior. While risky behavior might not seem harmful in the short-run, this type of behavior can ultimately put the user and those they love in danger. Finally, meth use can lead to paranoia and other emotional problems. Whether physical or emotional, meth can cause irreparable damage to meth users and their families.

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Why Meth is a Problem in Arizona

Although it’s impossible to understand fully why meth is such a huge problem in Arizona, there are a few signs of why this might be the case. For one, high purity and low-cost meth is readily available throughout the state. Crystal meth as well as powdered meth are available. However, recent reports show that crystal meth is more common of the two. Further, meth produced in Mexico is the most highly available. However, meth produced in California, Nevada, and Arizona is also available in lesser amounts.

History of Meth Use in Arizona

According to Arizona’s 2003 Drug Threat Assessment, meth use increased dramatically between 1999 and 2003. For example, a private testing lab conducted 108,562 screenings in 1999. Of the 8,338 positive results in 1999, 12.2% or 1,017 tests had meth present. In 2000, the lab conducted 155,559 screenings. Of the 12,258 positive results in 200, 1,704 (13.9%) of the results had meth. Finally, in 2001, the number of lab tests rose to 171,845. Of the 12,208 positive results, 1,859 (15.2%) had meth present. 

Who Uses Meth in Arizona?

Most commonly, white male adolescents use meth in Arizona. According to the DEA, more and more teens are using meth. Back in 2002, the Arizona Youth Survey conducted by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) found that 5.9% of junior and senior high school students reported they had used meth or amphetamines at least once. Further, 8.6% of high school seniors, 6.8% of high school sophomores, and 2.9% of eighth grade students in Arizona had used meth or amphetamines at least once in their lifetime.

Although these statistics are dated, they still reflect meth use among adolescents now. For instance, a national survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that 597,000 American teens had used meth or another illicit drug (excluding marijuana) in 2018. Being caught up with meth as a teen can impact one’s life emotionally and physically. But there are other serious implications for being involved with meth use: felony charges.

Penalties for Meth Possession and Use

In Arizona, strict laws have been created to match the level of meth usage. For example, if someone is found in possession of more than 9 grams of meth, he or she will be charged with a felony. The reason 9 grams or above is the difference between being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor is the belief of what someone intends to do with that amount of meth. If someone has more than 9 grams of meth, law enforcement officials believe the person’s intention is to sell the drug.

Further, the penalties for the crime are higher if there is a minor involved. Additionally, if someone possesses the drug near a school, the penalty is even higher. For a first offense, someone could be imprisoned for 5 years in state prison. The person also likely has to pay a $2,000 fine. Ultimately, having a felony has the potential to alter lives permanently. Having a felony on one’s personal record makes it more difficult to find a job and to restart their lives after spending time in prison. Because there are such serious consequences for meth use in Arizona, finding treatment is incredibly important.

How You Can Find Treatment in Arizona

Although the dangers of meth are serious, treatment is possible. One new treatment method specifically for those who suffer from meth addiction is called immunotherapies. The main premise of this treatment method is the idea that if meth can’t get into the brain, then psychoactive effects cannot occur. Therefore, immunotherapies are meant to keep meth from reaching the brain. Leading scientists have created a monoclonal antibody (mAb). The mAb is designed to interact with methamphetamine and decrease its ability to enter the brain. Although this form of treatment is new, it is a promising solution for those who suffer from addictions to meth.

If you or a loved one suffers from a meth addiction, you may wonder how you can find a way out. Since meth is incredibly addicting and can cause both short-term and long-term issues, the need for treatment likely feels urgent. We can help. In Arizona, there are 401 treatment centers. Many of these centers accept all types of payment. They may accept Medicare, Medicaid, and even offer paying options on a sliding fee scale. We can help you sift through these programs and find the one that is right for you. If you are in Arizona and you want to learn more about possible meth treatments for yourself or a loved one, please call today. Contact us at (480) 378-0660 for more information.


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