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Eye On Boise

Survey: Idaho teen meth use drops by half

A new survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows teen meth use in Idaho dropped by 52 percent from 2007 to 2009, from 6.4 percent of teens using the drug to 3.1 percent. It was the largest decline of any state during that time period; meanwhile, the national rate of teen meth use dropped from 4.4 percent to 4.1 percent. “These numbers are extremely encouraging,” said Gov. Butch Otter. “They clearly demonstrate that Idaho’s integrated approach to addressing our methamphetamine problem is having an impact." Click below for his full news release.

C.L. “Butch” Otter


June 15, 2010                                                                                                


(BOISE) – A new survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides fresh evidence that Idaho’s efforts to combat methamphetamine are working.

The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows that between 2007 and 2009 there was a change of less than 10 percent in the rate of meth use among U.S. teens (4.4 percent to 4.1 percent).  By comparison, use among Idaho teens declined by 52 percent during the same period, from 6.4 percent in 2007 (significantly above the national average) to 3.1 percent in 2009, below the national average. According to the YRBS, Idaho saw the largest decline in teen meth use of any state over the past two years.

“These numbers are extremely encouraging,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said.  “They clearly demonstrate that Idaho’s integrated approach to addressing our methamphetamine problem is having an impact.  Thanks to a combination of law enforcement, treatment, and prevention efforts like the Idaho Meth Project, we are moving in the right direction.  However, it is critical that we remain focused. The U.S. Justice Department says the supply of meth throughout the United States is at a five-year high.”

The 2010 Methamphetamine Threat Assessment – published by the Justice Department but not yet officially released – tracks the supply and distribution of methamphetamine in the United States.  According to the 2010 report, increased involvement by the Mexican drug cartels in the manufacture and distribution of meth has resulted in a dramatic increase in the supply of cheap, highly potent methamphetamine.

“We have made tremendous progress but we need to remain vigilant in the face of these new threats,” First Lady Lori Otter said. “As long as there is demand for methamphetamine, there will be someone in the business of selling it.  Idahoans in the public and private sector came together in January 2008 to establish a statewide prevention effort to reduce the demand for meth in Idaho.  Thanks to the thousands of people across the state who support the Idaho Meth Project, and all of Idaho’s efforts to reduce methamphetamine use, we are seeing significant shifts in attitudes and behavior.”

The 2010 Idaho Meth Use & Attitudes Survey, released by the Idaho Meth Project early this year, found that Idaho’s young people are increasingly aware of the dangers of using meth, are less likely to believe there are benefits to using meth, disapprove of using the drug even once or twice, and are more likely to discuss the subject with their friends and parents.  For more information visit

The First Lady said a new initiative by the Idaho Meth Project called Paint the State will make it possible for teens and their communities to get more involved in the “Meth: Not Even Once” campaign this summer.  Paint the State is a statewide public art contest that will leverage the creativity and passion of Idaho’s teens ages 13-18 to communicate the risks of methamphetamine use. The deadline for Paint the State registration is Friday, June 18, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. MDT. All winners will be announced at an event with Governor and First Lady Lori Otter at the Idaho State Capitol on Friday, August 6, 2010.  Additional information and registration for Paint the State is available at

The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults, including behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. In addition, the national YRBS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma. The national YRBS is conducted every two years during the spring semester and provides data representative of ninth- through 12th -grade students in public and private schools in the United States. More information on the YRBS is available at


Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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