Methamphetamine Trends in the United States

Meth production and trafficking were originally concentrated in the West and Southwest, particularly in California, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. Suppliers were outlaw motorcycle gangs and independent trafficking groups. Although California produces 85 percent of the Nation’s methamphetamine, the expansion of Mexico-based meth traffickers and independent U.S.-based laboratories has increased meth availability and abuse in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, portions of the Southeast (including Georgia, Tennessee, and the surrounding states), and, more recently, the Mid-Atlantic states and New England. Increasingly, local entrepreneurs are producing smaller amounts of meth in less complex laboratories using homemade or Internet recipes of dubious origin.5

The El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) is a collaborative effort of more than 15 federal and state agencies concerned with tracking drug movement and immigration. EPIC compiled the data shown in the table below for methamphetamine laboratory-related incidents nationwide from 2000 through 2002.

This table may not show a complete picture of the number of children killed and injured in clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. Newspaper and news reports about meth lab incidents around the country suggest that the numbers are much higher than what has been reported. Moreover, the totals for the years shown represent only the data voluntarily reported to EPIC by DEA and state and local law enforcement personnel as of April 23, 2003.

Children Involved in Methamphetamine Lab-Related
Incidents in the United States
    Number of Children
Number of Meth Lab-Related Incidents
Residing ina Seized Meth Labs
Exposed toc Toxic Chemicals
Taken Into Protective Custody
Injured or Killed
15,353 2,077 2,023 3,167 1,373 1,026 26 injured,
2 killed
13,270 2,191 976 2,191 788 778 14 injured
8,971 1,803 216 1,803 345 353 12 injured,
3 killed
a. Children included in this group were not necessarily present at the time of seizure.
b. Includes children who were residing at the labs but not necessarily present at the time of seizure and children who were visiting the site; data for 2000 and 2001 may not show all children affected.
c. Includes children who were residing at the labs but not necessarily present at the time of seizure.

Source: El Paso Intelligence Center.

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Children at Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs: Helping Meth's Youngest Victims
June 2003