|For several years, the production, distribution, and use of the drug, methamphetamine (meth) among subsets of the population have been concerns of the Western part of the United States. In recent years, indicators of meth have emerged in locations east of the Rockies. Several features about meth make it unique compared to other illegal drugs. First, the source country for meth is the USA. The low price, wide availability, and initial effects are attractive to drug users. The downsides are the addictive quality of meth and the devastating effects on the body chemistry and the environment when clandestine labs explode or waste materials are carelessly dumped into the landscape. Increased knowledge about the users and drug market dynamics compared to other illegal drugs would be helpful to practitioners and policy makers who are just beginning to struggle with meth indicators appearing in their locales. This study, supported by the National Institute of Justice, presents results from interviews with over 1,000 self-admitted meth users in five Westcoast sites and compares them with other arrestees who participated in the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring JADAM) Program. The findings have policy implications for drug prevention, intervention, enforcement, treatment, and interdiction strategies and suggest that meth production and use may require different approaches than other illegal drugs.
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