Methamphetamine killed a near-record 217 people in the region in 2012, a recent report shows.
Four of those deaths occurred in Ramona, according to the county medical examiner's office. Three lived in Ramona, and one was an Escondido resident. All were male.
From 2008 to 2012, the number of people in the region who died because of meth increased by 55 percent, from 140 in 2008 to 217 in 2012, according to the most recent Methamphetamine Strike Force Report Card.
More than 60 percent of meth deaths (133) in 2012 involved people between 40 and 60 years of age. The percentage of meth deaths in this age bracket was almost identical to the figure in 2008. The 10-year age bracket with the greatest number of meth deaths (69) was 50 to 59 years of age. And 13 deaths (or 6 percent) were people older than 60.
The Ramonans whose deaths were meth-related were 27, 30 and 51 years old, the county reported. The Escondido man was 43.
“While San Diego County is no longer the meth capital of the world, people’s lives are still being turned upside down because of this deadly and addictive drug,” said County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, who led the effort to create the Meth Strike Force in 1996. “Make no mistake. Meth is death. The number of meth deaths reported in 2012 was the second highest since the Meth Strike Force began tracking deaths in 1995.”
Those who suffer from a meth addiction or who suspect drug activity in the community may call the Meth Hotline at 1-877-662-6384. Drug treatment resources are available. Meth crime also can be reported online at www.no2meth.org. The calls and reports are confidential.