With the opioid epidemic ravaging communities across the United States in the past decade, other substances like methamphetamine have not been as heavily covered among news outlets. However, deaths associated with meth and other psychostimulant drugs have risen in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 10,333 overdose deaths involved psychostimulants like meth in 2017. That’s more than 14% of all overdose deaths.

Meth is a dangerous stimulant that can lead to drug addiction and overdose. Crystal meth, a smokable version of the drug, is particularly popular and dangerous. In some states, more people use meth than use painkillers.

According to the White House, Mexican cartels supply much of the meth that enters the United States. The Midwest region of the country is a hotbed for meth-related crimes, although other states and regions have also experienced a surge in meth use and related deaths.

Top States with Meth-Related Seizures

Each year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol compiles data from the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System to identify the number of meth-related seizure incidents for every state. A seizure incident includes discovered meth laboratories, chemical equipment and glassware, and dumpsites.

The states where meth-related seizures were most prevalent in 2018 were:

  1. Michigan
  2. New York
  3. Indiana
  4. Illinois
  5. North Carolina
  6. California
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Tennessee
  9. Ohio
  10. Florida

Michigan: The Meth Capital

The 2018 Missouri State Highway Patrol report found that Michigan experienced 220 seizure incidents involving meth — the most of any state — in 2018.

Michigan has seen a rise in meth use and incarcerations in recent years. Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore told Interlochen Public Radio, “Crystal meth is cheap. Crystal meth is very prevalent,” says Elmore. “Because it’s cheaper than heroin, we have a lot more people on that crystal meth.” Although heroin and other opioids have been a hot-button issue for much of the Midwest, meth is becoming cheaper to obtain.

But Michigan isn’t the only Midwest state to see a surge of drug use and drug-related deaths in recent years. The opioid epidemic has deep-seated roots in the Midwest, but opioids aren’t the only drugs to impact the region. Methamphetamine use also contributes to drug overdose deaths, especially when combined with heroin and other drugs. Experts believe that the decrease in the price of meth in the area might contribute to the problem.

Michigan Meth Capital Infographic

Meth Seizures in the US

Although the Midwest may see some of the highest numbers of meth seizures, meth use is an issue in other regions as well. In recent years, western parts of the United States have experienced an increase in meth-related crimes and deaths. According to a 2018 report by The New York Times, three times as many Oregonians died of meth use than of heroin use in 2016. That year, San Diego law enforcement seized more than 20,000 pounds of meth.

The New York Times report also found that meth-involved violations more than tripled in Montana from 2010 to 2015. During that time frame, meth caused more deaths than any other drug in Oklahoma. In South Dakota, the attorney general proclaimed meth use to be an epidemic.

Comparing Top 10 Meth States in 2013 With 2018

For years, meth use has been an issue in the Midwestern United States. According to a 2014 report by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, meth seizures were most prevalent in the following states in 2013:

  1. Indiana
  2. Tennessee
  3. Missouri
  4. Ohio
  5. Illinois
  6. Michigan
  7. North Carolina
  8. Kentucky
  9. Oklahoma
  10. South Carolina

Between 2013 and 2018, the number of methamphetamine seizures plummeted from 11,573 to 1,280 in the United States. In 2013, there were 1,797 methamphetamine seizure incidents in Indiana, compared to 114 in 2018. However, this shift doesn’t account for the rise in overall psychostimulant death rates in the United States.

While the decrease in meth-related incidents is a positive shift, there is still a clear issue with meth use throughout the country, as deaths related to the drug are on the rise. Because meth is particularly dangerous when combined with other substances like opioids, education and prevention are key to reducing the number of overdose deaths overall.

Meth seizure incidents aren’t the only indicators of a community’s drug use. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) interactive map highlights street addresses and locations of defunct drug laboratories and dump sites throughout the country.

Getting Help for Meth Addiction

Meth is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Kevin Wandler, chief medical officer at Advanced Recovery Systems, believes that meth is among the most addictive drugs because of the amount of dopamine it releases in the brain. Dopamine is a neurochemical that can produce euphoria, enhance memory and boost mood.

“Where a cigarette or a glass of alcohol releases about 150 units of dopamine, meth is like, 1,000 units of dopamine,” Wandler told The Recovery Village. “Usually it is inhaled; therefore, it goes to your brain so quickly [that] your high is immediate.”

Drugs that produce a powerful high, like meth, can cause people to continuously use these substances. With continued meth use, a person’s tolerance to the stimulant can rise. When individuals become more tolerant of meth, they can become dependent on the drug. Dependence can eventually lead to addiction.

Anybody can become addicted to meth. If you or someone you know is addicted to meth, medical treatment can help. With a medical team led by Dr. Kevin Wandler, The Recovery Village operates several rehab centers throughout the United States. To learn more about how treatment can help you or someone you love manage their addiction to meth or other drugs, contact The Recovery Village today.


Drugabuse.org. “Overdose Death Rates.” Revised January 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019.

George, Judy. “New Opioid Epidemic ‘Hot Spots’ Emerge in U.S.” Medpage Today. February 22, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019.

Kariisa, Mbabazi, PhD, et al. “Drug Overdose Deaths INvolving Cocaine and Psychostimulants with Abuse Potential — 2003–2017.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 3, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019.

Mshp.dps.missouri.gov. “Meth Stats.” Missouri State Highway Patrol. Accesses May 10, 2019.

Robles, Frances. “Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere.” The New york Times. February 13, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2019.

Selbig, Aaron. “Imported crystal meth no a ‘crisis’ in Michigan.” Interlochen Public Radio. September 27, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2019.

Whitehouse.gov. “National Drug Control Strategy.” January 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019. 

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