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High School Drop-Outs Have An Increased Risk for Methamphetamine Abuse

methamphetamineThis review covers an open access article* that investigates prevalence rates of adult non-medical (illicit) methamphetamine use. Check the end of this post for a link to download a free PD of the original journal article. This is truly a sad topic because chronic methamphetamine use can lead to not only major physical health problems, but also to psychosis, suicide, violent behavior, sexual promiscuity, and increased prevalence of HIV/AIDS*. Researchers surveyed 4,297 adults aged 18-49 living across the United States. One particular prevalence rate in this study really caught my attention.

The lifetime prevalence rate of methamphetamine use among those who failed to graduate from high school was a whopping 20.64%!! Said another way, 1 in 5 drop outs will use methamphetamine at some point. For comparison, college students had a 5.31% lifetime risk.

A sample of key additional findings:

  1. Person ages 18-25 were 5 times more likely to use methamphetamine in the past year than those ages 26-49.
  2. 8.6% of the U.S population reported methamphetamine at least once and 2.1% in the past 3 years
  3. Persons with some college had higher past month use prevalence rates than high school drop outs.
  4. Men and women did not differ (statistically) in their methamphetamine use.

In regard to high school drop-outs, I wonder if methamphetamine use contributed to poor school performance, or if these persons did poorly in school and subsequently dropped out and started to abuse drugs? Either way, this population is at a very high risk for methamphetamine use.

download_pdf_documentYou can download the article here.



*Durell, T., Kroutil, L., Crits-Christoph, P., Barchha, N., & Brunt, D. (2008). Prevalence of nonmedical methamphetamine in the United States.  Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. Download at

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