Drug Law

What Meth Epidemic? It's Least Popular Drug

| by Reason Foundation

By Brian Doherty

Everyone knows everyone else is all hopped up on meth, especially those weirdo rural kids.

A new report from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finds what they say are high levels of prescription drug non-prescribed use (13 percent vs. a mere 11.5 percent of cityfolk), but with meth as among the least popular "drugs of abuse" among 18,000 rural youth (12-17 years old) surveyed. Some details:

The survey also covered use of illegal drugs and alcohol. Perhaps surprisingly, given media reports of rampant methamphetamine abuse in rural areas, the survey data found no differences in rates of reported use of this drug between rural, suburban/small metro, and urban teens.

In fact, methamphetamine was one of the least popular of the 12 drugs of abuse included in the survey. Less than 1% of adolescent respondents said they had ever used methamphetamine -- compared with roughly 4% who reported using hallucinogens, 10% saying they had tried inhalants, and 10% who had used prescription pain relievers for nonmedical purposes.

About 40% reported having drunk alcohol at some point.

There were no significant differences between rural, suburban/small metro, and urban teens for lifetime use of alcohol or any illicit drug. Only misuse of prescription drugs differed by rural-urban status.

Jacob Sullum whipped up some home-made truth to debunk meth scare stories back in 2005.