The situation: Methamphetamine is the
primary drug threat in California. Mexican
drug gangs dominate the production
and distribution of high-quality meth but
some is still produced by residents
of the state. The mainland U.S. meth
epidemic started largely in California
where biker gangs sold "crank" smuggled
in the crank cases of their bikes.
In 2000, about half of the state's counties
reported methamphetamine as its most
serious drug problem but by 2005 that
sentiment was nearly unanimous.
The amount of meth seized by the DEA in
California dwarfs all other state totals in 2010.
The top five: kilograms
Meth in California
-- In drug treatment centers around the country, meth accounts for about 6.3% of all
admissions. In California that figure was 27.9% -- more than one in every four
Number of people seeking treatment for meth and the percentage of all admissions
that were for methamphetamine:
Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Total meth 71,087 68,923 59,155 49,239 38,328
Pct. meth 35.9% 34.1% 29.3% 27.3% 27.9%
(Note: the number of treatment admissions has dropped due primarily to lack of funding)
-- Clandestine methamphetamine labs have been a problem in the state, but their numbers
have fallen from historic highs. Number of labs busted by law enforcement:
Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Labs 683 520 465 323 419 329
-- "Super labs" -- those capable of producing 10 pounds of meth or more in a single batch -- have
been on the rise in California from 10 in 2007 to 15 in 2008 and 13 in 2009.
-- California youth apparently uses methamphetamine more often than their peers across the country. The state attorney general in 2007 noted that 7% of high school juniors had used meth sometime in their life. Nationally, about 6.3% of high school students said they had used meth during their lives.
Speaking of meth in California
-- "The Central Valley of California remains the meth capital of the world and has held that distinction, unfortunately, for many years. These organizations are all over the place out there, folks,"
- Sacramento County Sheriff's Lt. Fred Links