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The Alarming Resurgence of Crystal Meth

The Unwelcome Return of a Familiar Face

The articles were easy to miss, with most news cycles centering on the upcoming election and impending coronavirus crisis. However, towards the end of 2019, major news outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Vice began commenting on the unwelcome return of a familiar face: methamphetamine. For example, the WSJ pointed to reports from the CDC that overdoses via meth were outpacing fentanyl deaths in states west of the Mississippi. Even more recent data from the CDC shows nationwide meth overdoses increased by 25% compared to a 10% increase in opioid overdoses. And according to Dr. Brett Giroir of the Department for Health and Human Services, “Within a few short months, and you can model it any way you want, methamphetamines will be secondary to fentanyl nationwide associated with overdose deaths.”

Factors Contributing to the Resurgence of Meth

There are several factors contributing to meth’s resurgence. First is the potency of the product. The home lab-produced crank of the 80s and 90s is now largely absent. In its place is a purer, stronger, and cheaper drug, born in factories. Secondly, there are no medications to help with meth overdose or withdrawal. For example, naloxone can combat opiate overdose, and buprenorphine and similar drugs can help with withdrawal. However, meth users have no such recourse. Finally, while funds are available for programs to help with the opiate problem, that funding does not necessarily extend to meth addiction.

Signs of Meth Use

Because of the drug’s high potency, signs of meth use are apparent within days. Some of these signs include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Mood swings
  • Erratic sleeping patterns
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sudden weight loss

Longer-term use can often lead to skin sores, rotting teeth, extreme weight loss, and paranoia with hallucinations. Eventually, the drug will prove too strong for the user’s cardiovascular system and lead to aortic ruptures and strokes.

Build Your Foundation for Success

Often, professional help is the best course of action in overcoming meth addiction. Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance abuse and eating disorders since 2002. We are a residential treatment facility located in Newport Beach, California. We offer a holistic, evidence-based approach, including individual and group sessions, cognitive and dialectic behavioral therapies, nutritional therapy, yoga, and more. So, if you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or eating disorders and seeking treatment for your addiction, please get in touch with us now and start building your foundation for success. Our Orange County recovery center accepts individuals across California and the United States.


Ocean Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Calfas J. Meth Is Top Drug in the West for Overdose Deaths. WSJ. Published October 25, 2019. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. Meyer J. Meth Is Cheaper, More Potent, and More Common than Ever. Vice. Published November 14, 2019. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. CDC. Products – Vital Statistics Rapid Release – Provisional Drug Overdose Data. Published July 3, 2022. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  4. Goodnough A. A New Drug Scourge: Deaths Involving Meth Are Rising Fast. The New York Times. Published December 17, 2019. Accessed August 1, 2022.

Last medically reviewed August 1, 2022.