Some Facts about Methamphetamine Use in Kern County
In 2008, the Kern County Board of Supervisors asked Kern County Mental Health to examine the impact that meth use has on county services and on local communities. Mental Health collected information from county agencies, law enforcement, faith-based organizations, treatment providers, local media, and community members. Their findings were startling. Here are a few examples of what was learned:
- Up to 39% of all felony prosecutions in Kern County include methamphetamine offenses;
- Approximately one-third of emergency room patients at Kern Medical Center have used methamphetamine;
- Well over 50% of substance abuse treatment admissions in Kern County are for methamphetamine-related disorders;
- Approximately one-third of Adult Probation cases involve methamphetamine, as do nearly one in five Juvenile Probation cases;
- Of eight randomly selected substance abuse clients interviewed in West Kern as part of the study, seven had begun their meth-using careers as teenagers, and four had used methamphetamine for the first time between the ages of 12 and 15.
- In a public opinion poll conducted in the western part of Kern County, 50% of those polled agreed that they know someone currently living in their community who either uses meth now or has used meth in the past.
The Board decided it was time to take action, and charged Mental Health with taking the lead to form a Task Force to address the problem.
The Task Force was divided into 4 Subcommittees:
- Support for Business
- Public Safety Support
- Family Wellness Support
- Support for Youth Prevention and Treatment