The Washington City Paper, a local weekly, has challenged the Washington Post’s reporting of a growing meth epidemic in the Washington, D.C., area. Plenty of sources suggest the paper got it all wrong. The Post stands by its story. The dispute is similar to one in Portland, Or., where a weekly paper contends that The Oregonian has exaggerated the meth problem.
The Washington City Paper says that the number of seized methamphetamine labs in the Washington area has been flat in recent years; the number of meth-related visits to emergency rooms has plummeted. National data show meth use falling off in recent years. “It's not that big of a deal, but we're keeping it on the radar,” said Kristine Vander Wall of the Washington/Baltimore bureau of the federal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which has analyzed meth usage and arrest data. The two largest national drug surveys show that the trend in meth use is flat or declining. One possible explanation for the flat national rate of meth use and the lack of a serious local problem could be that the drug is not very addictive. A recent federal survey showed that of the 12 million people who had used meth in their lifetime, only 1 in 10 had used it in the past year. Only 1 in 25 had used it in the past 30 days.