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The Intersection of Methamphetamine and Violence in the United States: A County-level Assessment of Methamphetamine Overdose Mortality and Violent Crime

NCJ Number
Journal of Substance Use Volume: Online Dated: 2023
Date Published
May 2023

This article presents research into the correlation between community methamphetamine use and incidence of violent crime.


This study sought to investigate the correlation between community methamphetamine use, gauged by overdose mortality rates, and incidence of violent crime. The authors carried out a descriptive, cross-sectional analysis of county-level data from multiple public sources, involving all 3147 US counties. Methamphetamine overdose rates for the year 2019 were derived from CDC WONDER, while violent crime rates were collected from NIBRS. The authors data set contained 522 counties with complete information, largely metro (92.72%). Overdose data was suppressed for 2625 counties—697 (26.55%) metro, and 1928 (73.45%) non-metro, hence multiple imputation was utilized for comprehensive results. The analysis showed significant correlations between methamphetamine overdose and all violent crime, and specifically robbery (F = 5.55, P = .005 and F = 47.60, P <.001, respectively). The authors study suggests that communities with higher methamphetamine overdoses likely face increased rates of crime, specifically robbery, which could impact costs associated with law enforcement, prosecution, and healthcare. The study offers valuable insights for law enforcement and policymakers, and underlines the need for further research to fully understand the dynamics of methamphetamine use and violence at the community level. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: May 1, 2023