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To examine the prevalence and correlates of crystal methamphetamine use among young adults in the USA.Cross-sectional analyses of nationally representative data of young adults from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health).In-home interviews conducted in 2001–02.A total of 14 322 respondents aged 18–26 years.Past year and 30-day crystal methamphetamine use; crime/violence (ever arrested, past year drug selling, past year violent behavior) and sexual risk behaviors (multiple partners, poor condom use, regretted sex, sex for money).Prevalence of past year crystal methamphetamine use was 2.8%; past month was 1.3%. White or Native American race, residence in the west or south, having an ever-incarcerated father, marijuana, cocaine, intravenous drug use and high novelty seeking were associated with greater likelihood of past year use in multivariate analyses. Compared to marijuana and cocaine users, crystal methamphetamine users were more likely to be male, unemployed, reside in the west or south, have an ever-incarcerated father and less likely to be black or Hispanic. Frequent users were no different from occasional users, except being more likely to have dropped out of school. Although crystal methamphetamine use was associated with crime and risky sex, controlling for covariates greatly diminished this relationship.Most users are occasional users, but any past year use is associated with risky and antisocial behaviors, including other illicit drug use. Further research is needed to examine how other drug addiction is associated with methamphetamine use, and to identify longitudinal antecedents for prevention.