Using aggregate-level data, this study performed cross-sectional analyses on all 1,628 populated California zip code areas and longitudinal analyses on 581 consistently defined zip codes over six years (1995-2000), relating place and population characteristics of these areas to rates of hospital discharges for amphetamine dependence/abuse using linear spatial models. Analyzing the data in two ways, spatial time series cross-sections and spatial difference models, amphetamine dependence/abuse were greatest in rural areas with more young low-income whites, larger numbers of retail and alcohol outlets, and smaller numbers of restaurants. Growth rates of these problems were greater in areas with higher income and larger non-White and Hispanic populations. This suggests that there was some change in the penetration of the methamphetamine epidemic into different population groups during this time. Study implications and limitations are discussed.