Widespread amphetamine abuse in the District of Columbia created the need for an understanding of the patterns and consequences of amphetamine abuse. This report presents observations made in an arrestee population. Ninety-three percent of amphetamine abuse occurred among people who were active opiate abusers. Intravenous methamphetamine was used to augment the "high" obtained from oral methadone or poor quality heroin.
The pattern of abuse was benign in that doses were low and did not tend to escalate in amount or frequency of administration, and were intermittently administered. It was malignant in that the drug was administered intravenously.
Amphetamine abusing arrestees were less likely to have been charged with violent crimes than arrestees who lacked evidence of drug abuse and were no more likely to have been charged with violent crimes than opiate abusing arrestees. In this sample, there was no evidence to support malignant consequences of this type of amphetamine abuse.