Meth Use and Arrests on the Rise in Illinois

The use of methamphetamine is soaring once again as nearly 1 million Americans are hooked on the drug, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC says, from 2015 to 2018, of the nearly 1.6 million adults who reported using meth, almost 53% said they were addicted, and 22% reported injecting the drug. Users frequently said they were also addicted to other drugs or had mental health issues.

Illinois meth arrests skyrocketed during the past decade

Statistics from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) show while meth-related arrests remain lower than for other drugs, the arrest rate increased by 289% from 2010 to 2017. Arrests for methamphetamine accounted for 6% of all drug arrests in 2017, compared to 1% in 2010.

The ICJIA says 1,017 people were sent to prison in 2018 for meth-related offenses, accounting for 4% of all admissions and nearly 18% of all drug admissions that year. Meth lab seizures spiked by 76% from 2007 to 2012 but declined 8% from 2012 to 2015.

Researchers note ties to poverty and lack of treatment options

The ICJIA says while most of the country has focused on opioid addiction, Illinois has seen a reemergence in meth abuse, particularly in rural areas in the central and southern parts of the state. Those areas have historically lacked access to services for mental health and substance abuse disorders. Other studies say the resurgence is more common among low-income individuals due to the cheaper cost of the drug.

Illinois has severe penalties for methamphetamine crimes, which can include up to 15 years in prison for someone possessing as little as 15 grams. If you are convicted, the consequences can be long-lasting and sometimes permanent. If you are arrested, an experienced criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and look for ways to get the charges dropped or for alternatives to detention, such as treatment for substance abuse.