FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENIJ
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 1997202/307-0703

METHAMPHETAMINE USE AMONG

ARRESTEES DECLINES IN THE WEST AND SOUTHWEST >

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New figures indicate a downward trend in methamphetamine use among adult arrestees between 1995 and 1996, according to a report released today by the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Use of the drug among adult arrestees is still significant in the West and Southwest. Adult arrestees who tested positive for methamphetamine use in San Diego, Phoenix and Portland showed the most notable declines. In San Diego, methamphetamine use by adult arrestees dropped from 37.1 to 29.9 percent; in Phoenix from 21.9 to 12.2 percent; and in Portland from 18.7 to 12.4 percent. Only San Antonio showed an increase between 1995 to 1996, from 1.5 to 2.1 percent.

Last year, the Clinton Administration announced a National Methamphetamine Strategy, including a request to Congress to raise penalties for trafficking and impose tighter regulatory controls on drug products containing the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine. Marijuana now exceeds cocaine as the drug of choice among adult male arrestees, particularly in Western cities. Most cities reported an increase in the percentage of adult male arrestees testing positive for marijuana. A majority of cities reported lower rates of cocaine use among adult male arrestees while 9 reported increases and 2 showed no change. Substantial decreases in cocaine use were reported in Dallas and Houston. However, significant increases were also reported in Omaha, Miami and Indianapolis.

Most cities reported very low rates of opiate use. While six cities reported rates of opiate use at 10 percent or more, these rates are consistent with 1995 findings.

For 10 years, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has administered the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program. NIJ's DUF program has conducted quarterly assessments of substance abuse among booked arrestees in 23 sites around the nation. Interviews and urinalysis are conducted with arrestees within 48 hours of arrest. Urinalysis detects evidence of recent use of any of 10 drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, opiates and methamphetamines.

NIJ has recently proposed to expand the program and develop a national Arrestee Drug Use Monitoring (ADAM) system. The proposed expansion will include 52 additional sites, as well as an outreach component in each site to study drug use in suburban and rural areas.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the Department of Justice, is the primary sponsor of criminal justice research and evaluations of programs to reduce crime. For general information about NIJ, the Internet address is http://www.ncjrs.org. General information about the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

Copies of the 1996 DUF report are available from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) by calling toll-free, 1-800/851-3420.

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NIJ 97-082

After hours contact: James Phillips at 888/582-6750