Officials release San Diego County's 'Meth Report Card'; 217 meth-related deaths reported in 2012

130 of the people dead were between age 40 to 60

SAN DIEGO - The year 2012 was the second-worst for methamphetamine-related deaths in San Diego County since record keeping started in 1995, according to the latest "Meth Report Card" released Tuesday.

The county said 217 methamphetamine deaths were recorded two years ago.

Since officials began keeping track of meth-related fatalities, 2005 was the worst year with 245 dead.

"While San Diego County is no longer the meth capital of the world, people's lives are still being turned upside down because of this deadly and addictive drug," said Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors. "Make no mistake. Meth is death."

More than 130 of the people who died from the drug in 2012 were 40-60 years old, and 13 were older than 60.

County leaders say the report shows a mixed bag of results, when figures from 2012 are compared with 2008:

-- the number of emergency room discharges increased by 65 percent
-- admissions for treatment declined 16 percent
-- the percentage of adults who tested positive for meth after being arrested rose from 24 percent to 36 percent
-- the percentage of juveniles arrestees who tested positive for meth dropped from 10 percent to 4 percent
-- the number of arrests for sales and possession of meth went up 56 percent
-- meth lab cleanups declined 42 percent
-- seizures dropped 20 percent
-- the number of children taken out of what the county called "drug-infested environments" climbed 107 percent

"About one third of adults coming into (county funded) treatment centers walk in addicted to meth," said Nick Macchione, director of the county Health and Human Services Agency.

A "Meth Hotline" is available for people to call if they suffer from meth addiction or suspect drug activity in the community. Drug treatment resources are available via the hotline, (877) 662-6384.

"We can help you kick your addiction and lead you on the path to recovery," Macchione said. "Drug treatment is available."

"We are here to help those who need help, but to put the bad guys away," said Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego County District Attorney.

Recovering addict Eric Davis knows the struggle firsthand.

"I stole my mom's car one night, I took her purse with me and went looking for someone who looked like my mom so that I could use her credit cards in all the stores," Davis said.

He shared how the drug addiction hurt himself and his family at a news conference Tuesday hoping to help others.

While Davis' story may not end up on the big screen, he hopes his journey of recovery encourages at least one person with a drug problem to get the help they need.

"The system was made to save people, and it saved me," Davis said.

Jacob added, "This isn't 'Breaking Bad'; meth breaks lives."

Meth crime can also be reported online at The calls and reports are confidential.

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