Crystal Meth Use Rose 33 Percent In 2009
Hawaii’s largest, locally owned drug testing company said crystal methamphetamine use is up, and drug prevention organizations said the numbers are alarming.
Diagnostic Laboratory Services released its year-end numbers for 2009 and found that crystal meth use rose 33 percent from 2008.
According to the laboratory, which conducts tests for companies and those seeking employment, the biggest rise came in the fourth quarter. The lab conducts 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests each quarter, and in late 2009, meth use was up 57 percent from the year’s average rate.
“We don’t know if it’s attributed to the economy, perhaps, or if it is a one-quarter anomaly,” Carl Linden of Diagnostic Laboratory Services said.
Drug prevention groups like the Hawaii Meth Project said it’s common to see increases in substance abuse in a bad economy.
“It certainly presents an opportunity to sell drugs, right? So that’s a potential revenue or income for somebody,” Cindy Adams, the executive director of Hawaii Meth Project, said.
Adams added that hard times can also make it more difficult for people who are already suffering from substance abuse.
“There’s probably a tendency to use more, or to use more frequently,” Adams said.
The Hawaii Meth Project focuses on prevention with a target audience of 12- to 17-year-olds. Adams said the latest drug use numbers show how critical it is to focus on prevention.
“Particularly with teenagers who are going to be the next generation moving into the workforce, right? Could make a very significant difference,” Adams said.
Diagnostic Laboratory Services also found a 9 percent increase in marijuana use from 2008 to 2009. Cocaine use was unchanged and opiate use was down for the year.
The company said it typically sees increases in drug use ebb and flow from one drug to another, depending on supply and demand.