The production and use of methamphetamine is a serious threat to the health and safety of our communities. Meth is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain and has a high potential for abuse. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment.
The chemicals or ingredients needed to manufacture methamphetamine are often illegally diverted from legitimate sources. Some of these precursor chemicals include pseudoephedrine (contained in over-the-counter cold medicines), anhydrous ammonia (used primarily as an agricultural fertilizer and industrial refrigerant), and red phosphorus (used in matches).
Methamphetamine comes in more than one form – it can be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested, though smoking has become more common recently. Smoking leads to very fast intake into the brain, which multiplies the user’s potential for addiction and health implications.
ONDCP has several initiatives focused on addressing methamphetamine abuse.
National Methamphetamine & Pharmaceuticals Initiative
Part of ONDCP’s national High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, the National Methamphetamine & Pharmaceuticals Initiative (NMPI) is an initiative funded through the Southwest Border HIDTA California Region. Focused on reducing the availability of methamphetamine and its precursor chemicals throughout the United States, this national strategy includes intelligence sharing and training as key components. NMPI also seeks to reduce pharmaceutical drug crimes by utilizing best practices for investigations and intelligence collection and analysis. Learn more about the National Methamphetamine & Pharmaceuticals Initiative.
Since 2007, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has supported a national Anti-Meth Campaign through TV, radio, print, and online anti-meth advertising in areas of the country hardest hit by meth. The anti-meth messages are aimed at young adults (ages 18-34), as national survey data indicate that young adults, with an average age of first use of meth of approximately 21 years, are far more likely to use meth than teens or any other age group. The advertising and outreach has included messages that focus on preventing meth use and raising awareness about the benefits of treatment, and encouraging friends and family of meth users to seek treatment for their friend or loved one. The Campaign makes its anti-meth ads available as free resources for community organizations to use in their local markets. Learn more about the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.
Controlling Precursor Chemical
Methamphetamine is often produced using chemicals and other products that are illegally diverted from legitimate sources. Some of the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture meth include pseudoephedrine (contained in over the counter cold medicines), anhydrous ammonia (used primarily as an agricultural fertilizer and industrial refrigerant), and red phosphorus (used in matches). Learn what ONDCP is doing to help control precursor chemicals.