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Report: Increased Meth Use By Minors Booked Into Juvenile Hall

A drug addict prepares his fix of

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A drug addict prepares his fix of "speedball", a combination of heroin and crystal meth, at a street corner near the international border in Tijuana, Mexico, Aug. 25, 2009.

One in 10 youths booked into Juvenile Hall tested positive for methamphetamine last year, up from 4 percent in 2012, according to a report released by the San Diego Association of Governments on Tuesday.


Meth Use Up Among Youth Booked Into Juvenile Hall in 2013

Meth Use Up Among Youth Booked Into Juvenile Ha...

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While the regional planning agency based its findings on a relatively small sample — 13 tested positive and 121 did not — a survey turned up some disturbing figures. The youth tested were booked into the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility.

Among SANDAG's findings:

— 85 percent used meth even though they believed the drug was extremely bad or very bad for them.

— 50 percent found meth easy to get.

— Those who tested positive started using the drug, on average, when they were 14 1/2 years old and used it more than 16 of the past 30 days.

— 85 percent of those who tested positive had arrest records, compared to 67 percent who weren't using.

— 23 percent of meth users had suicidal thoughts compared to 9 percent of others.

— 54 percent of users had a history of running away, as opposed to 36 percent of non-users.

— 31 percent of those who tested positive for meth claimed gang membership, compared to 17 percent for non-users.

— 54 percent of users sold drugs, while 36 of those who didn't use meth sold drugs.

The study also found that youths using methamphetamine tried alcohol and marijuana at younger ages than those who did not use meth.

Also, SANDAG found that 92 percent of the young meth-users were boys and 85 percent were Hispanic.

Statistics released by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office showed that methamphetamine-related deaths rose for the fifth straight year in 2013, with 190 deaths blamed on meth, compared to 142 in 2012.

The 10 percent meth-positive rate is the highest in six years, but well off the 21 percent in 2005.

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