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The situation: A higher percentage of Rhode Islanders than any other state say they have used illicit drugs in the past 30 days (see chart above). The state also is known in the Drug Enforcement Administration as a major transshipment point for drugs in New England. Methamphetamine, however, is just beginning to show itself as a potential problem for the future. In the last available Centers for Disease Control survey, a substantial percentage of Rhode Island high school students admitted to using meth (see below). Meth labs also are seldom found in Rhode Island. According to the El Paso Intelligence Center, two meth labs were busted by law enforcement between 2004-2010 -- both in 2006.

Meth in Rhode Island

-- High schools students who say they have used methamphetamine at least once. The U.S. average for all students in 2005 was 4.4%. Rhode Island results were not included in the 2007 or 2009 surveys.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control):
Year                               2003      2005        U.S. 2005
Total                              6.9%     6.0%         6.2%
9th grade                        4.1%     4.9%         5.7%
10th grade                      7.8%     6.0%         5.9%
11th grade                      6.9%     6.5%         6.7%
12th grade                      8.7%     6.4%         6.4%

-- Clandestine meth lab busts in Rhode Island since 2005
Year                 2005     2006     2007     2008     2009    2010
Lab busts           0          2           0           0          0         0
Source: El Paso Intelligence Center

-- Number of people admitted to drug treatment for amphetamine-related addictions and the percentage of all admissions that were related to amphetamines (mostly meth).
Year                2006     2007     2008     2009    2010
Number           22          28        32         28        12
(Note: Rhode Island admissions for meth constituted less than 0.1% of all admissions. The national average percentage of meth admissions is 6.3%)
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

-- Drug Enforcement Administration agents report no seizures of methamphetamine in Rhode Island between 2005-2010.

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States with the highest rates of  illicit drug use (all drugs)
  R.I.           Vt.           Col.        Alaska       Wash.      Mont.       Ore.        U.S. Avg.        
Those reporting drug use in the past 30 days
Source: National Surveys on Drug Use and Health