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Uptick in Meth Deaths Causes Concern

May 12, 2017

By Mario A. Cortez

The San Diego County Meth Strike Force announced alarming statistics related to meth use and fatalities in the region.

According to yearly statistics collected from 2011 through 2015 there has been a notable increase in deaths caused by meth in San Diego County.

The Meth Strike Force registered 171 deaths related to this stimulant drug in 2011. The number of registered deaths shot up to 217 in 2012, and increased to 267 in 2013. 2014’s death rate took a slight dip, registering 262 fatalities. In 2015 however, the total number of deaths spiked to 311, which represents an 82 percent increase compared to 2011.

It is believed that there is a meth-related death every 28 hours in San Diego County.

“The numbers are headed in the wrong direction. More and more residents are dying from meth use and we must step up the fight against this killer,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has also recorded an increase in fatalities among middle-aged and senior individuals. According to data from 2015, 178 of the 311 recorded fatalities (57 percent) were among users between 45 and 64 years of age or older.

Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas pointed out that this is due to many victims of the drug being long time or chronic meth users who have poor health habits or live in deplorable conditions, this in addition to the increased potency of the drug.

The greater number of deaths is largely attributed to greater availability throughout the region and the increased potency of the drug.
A vast majority of the meth sold and consumed in the region comes from Mexico and is smuggled into the United States by drug cartels.

To combat this deadly trend, the County offers aid and services to those who wish to leave their drug habit in the past. By calling 2-1-1 or the County’s Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240 those seeking freedom from drug addiction can be directed to services which will help them in their road to drug abstinence.

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