Meth Use Up Among Youth Booked Into Juvenile Hall

The use of methamphetamine has increased among youth booked into juvenile hall in San Diego County, a newly-released report confirms.

According to new research by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division, 10 percent of youth booked into juvenile hall locally tested positive for meth in 2013.

This is a significant increase after record lows of 4 percent in 2011 and 2012, though still far below the record high of 21 percent reported in 2005.

The report says the findings coincide with recent reports showing meth abuse rising in the region. For instance, figures from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office show the number of unintentional deaths due to meth have risen in the past five consecutive years.

In San Diego, meth-related deaths jumped from 142 in 2012 to 190 in 2013.

The SANDAG research shows that out of 134 youth booked into juvenile hall, 13 tested positive for meth. Of that figure, 92 percent were male and 85 percent were Hispanic. SANDAG reports that 85 percent of those youth had been arrested previously and 54 percent had a reported history of running away.

The report shows that the average age of those who tested positive for meth was 14.6 years old.

Those who tested positive said they used the drug an average of 16.3 days out of the past 30 and 50 percent said the drug was “easy” or “very easy” to obtain.

The results were collected as part of a Substance Abuse Monitoring (SAM) program. SANDAG said it’s crucial that law enforcement continues to tackle the ongoing abuse of meth in San Diego County. For more info about meth use prevention and intervention, click here.

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