SAN DIEGO (CNS) - More than half the women booked into jails in San Diego County in 2014 had methamphetamine in their system, a 7 percent increase over the prior year, according to reports released Monday by the San Diego Association of Governments.
The 53 percent figure for female inmates who tested positive for meth was a 15-year high. For men, 40 percent had meth in their system, according to SANDAG.
The reports showed that the share of women arrested in the region who tested positive for meth rose from 29 percent in 2000. Since 28 percent of male inmates tested positive for meth 15 years ago, the rate of increase for women has been much faster, according to SANDAG.
On average, the adult arrestees reported they had been using meth for 16 years, and when they were on the drug, they used it five days in a row. One- quarter injected it at some point, and 49 percent reported using it before going to work or school.
Researchers approached inmates within 48 hours of being arrested and booked into jail and asked them if they were willing to be surveyed and provide a urine sample. More than 500 men were interviewed at jails in downtown San Diego and Vista, and 266 women participated at the detention center in Santee.
According to the reports, 69 percent of women and 68 percent of men tested positive for at least one kind of drug after being booked into jail, while 29 percent of men and 28 percent of women had more than one drug in their system.
"Regardless of why someone is booked into jail, substance use is an issue for many arrestees, with over two-thirds positive for at least one drug overall, and about one in three current poly-drug users," said Cynthia Burke of SANDAG, the author of the reports.
"Offenders arrested for a property offense were more likely to test positive for any and multiple drugs," she said. "Among poly-drug users, meth was used more than any other drug."
The reports also found that 45 percent of men tested positive for marijuana, near a 15-year high, while 31 percent of women were on the drug. In 2000, the rates were 38 percent and 27 percent, respectively.
Use of opiates, like heroin, continued a recent climb to 15 percent for women and 13 percent for men. Cocaine use has dropped dramatically in the past 15 years, from 26 percent of women and 15 percent of men in 2000, to 6 percent of females and 5 percent of males, according to SANDAG.
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