Public Health Resources



Denise C. Herz

Date of this Version



Published by U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.


A decade ago, methamphetamine was commonly believed to be limited to the West Coast and a few other, isolated areas. Recent evidence shows that substantial proportions of arrestees in several large urban areas of the West and Midwest are using the drug. Increasingly, the problem is coming to the attention of policymakers and law enforcement nationwide. (See “The Federal Government Responds.”)
Methamphetamine has generated concern because of its ready availability and the severity of its effects on the user. It is cheaper than cocaine, it is easy to manufacture, it produces a longer lasting “high,” and its short- and long-term effects can be extreme. The feelings of euphoria and increased energy the drug initially produces may be followed by paranoia, depression, memory loss, convulsions, and other effects. Long-term and heavy use are often associated with addiction, and prolonged use may lead to brain damage or death. (See “Life or Meth?”)

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