By Mark Sherman
WASHINGTON - Methamphetamine use is rare in most of the United States, not the raging epidemic described by politicians and the news media, says a study by an advocacy group.
Meth is a dangerous drug but among the least commonly used, the Sentencing Project policy analyst Ryan King wrote in a report issued Wednesday.
Rates of use have been stable since 1999, and among teenagers, meth use has dropped, King said.
"The portrayal of methamphetamine in the United States as an epidemic spreading across the country has been grossly overstated," King said. The Sentencing Project is a not-for-profit group that supports alternatives to prison terms for convicted drug users and other criminals.
Overheated rhetoric, unsupported assertions and factual errors about the use of the drug -- including frequent, misguided comparisons between meth and crack cocaine -- lead to poor decisions about how to spend precious public dollars combating drug addiction, King said.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy did not immediately comment on the report.