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National Drug Intelligence Center.



Methamphetamine Drug Threat Assessment

Publication Date: March 2005

Document ID: 2005-Q0317-009

Archived on:  July 1, 2009. This document may contain dated information. It remains available to provide access to historical materials.

This threat assessment examines the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of methamphetamine. It describes methamphetamine trends, availability, demand, production, transportation, and distribution.

Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time.  Addresses are provided at the end of the page.

Methamphetamine Drug Threat Assessment.

Cover Photo: DEA




Introduction and Trends


   Predominant User Groups
   Trends in Use
   Perceptions of Use
   Trends in Consequences of Use

   Domestic Production
   Foreign Production
   Precursor Chemicals

   Routes From Foreign Source Areas
   Routes From Domestic Source Areas

   Primary Market Areas



List of Figures

Figure 1. Six Regions and Primary Market Areas for methamphetamine.
Figure 2. Methamphetamine-related arrests, United States, 2000-2003.
Figure 3. Methamphetamine-related arrests, by region, 2003.
Figure 4. Adult trends in percentage of past year use of methamphetamine, 1999-2003.
Figure 5. Adolescent trends in percentage of past year use of methamphetamine, 1999-2004.
Figure 6. Trends in perceived harmfulness of methamphetamine, teens, 1996-2003.
Figure 7. Trends in perceived harmfulness of ice methamphetamine, selected groups, 1992-2003.
Figure 8. Methamphetamine-related emergency department mentions, estimated number, 1995-2002.
Figure 9. Methamphetamine-related admissions to publicly funded treatment facilities, number, 1995-2002.
Figure 10. Methamphetamine laboratory seizures, number reported, 1999-2003.
Figure 11. Methamphetamine seizures at or between ports of entry, in kilograms, 2003.

List of Tables

Table 1. National Price Ranges, Methamphetamine, in Dollars, 2003
Table 2. Powder Methamphetamine Prices, in Dollars, 2001-2003
Table 3. Ice Methamphetamine Prices, in Dollars, 2001-2003
Table 4. Percentage of Past Year Use of Methamphetamine, by Gender, 2003
Table 5. Percentage of Past Year Use of Methamphetamine, by Population Density, 2003



Key Findings

  • Law enforcement reporting as well as laboratory seizure and arrest data indicates that methamphetamine availability has increased over the past year in the Northeast Region, particularly in rural areas. For example, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System (NCLSS) data show that the number of reported methamphetamine laboratory seizures in the Northeast region increased from 94 in 2002 to 143 in 2003. DEA methamphetamine-related arrests also have increased recently in the Northeast Region from 179 in 2002 to 198 in 2003. Law enforcement reporting indicates that the increase in methamphetamine availability in the Northeast Region is due primarily to a significant increase in wholesale distribution by Mexican criminal groups. Nevertheless, methamphetamine availability in the Northeast remains lower than in any other region of the country.  

  • The availability of ice methamphetamine has increased in the past year because of an increase in ice production and distribution by Mexican criminal groups; however, this form of the drug is not as widely available in the United States as powder methamphetamine.  

  • Methamphetamine production appears to have increased sharply in Mexico since 2002 because Mexican criminal groups producing the drug in the United States are having greater difficulty obtaining bulk quantities of pseudoephedrine from Canada. However, Mexican criminal groups have greater access to bulk quantities of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine from China for use in Mexico-based laboratories.  

  • Methamphetamine smuggling from Mexico into the United States via Arizona appears to have increased sharply since 2001. More methamphetamine was seized at or between ports of entry (POEs) in Arizona in 2003 than at or between POEs in California or Texas.


National Drug Intelligence Center
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Johnstown, PA 15901

Tel. (814) 532-4601
FAX (814) 532-4690

National Drug Intelligence Center
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001
McLean, VA 22102-3840

Tel. (703) 556-8970
FAX (703) 556-7807


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