U.S. Meth Overdose Deaths Tripled in Latest Years


By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 23, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Deaths from methamphetamine overdoses in the US almost tripled between 2015 and 2019, well being officers report in a brand new examine.

Whereas the variety of methamphetamine customers didn’t enhance as steeply, researchers stated frequent use of methamphetamine, and utilizing different medication on the identical time, could have contributed to the rise in overdose deaths. Meth customers have additionally develop into extra numerous, in accordance with the report.

“We’re within the midst of an overdose disaster in the US, and this tragic trajectory goes far past an opioid epidemic. Along with heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine have gotten extra harmful resulting from contamination with extremely potent fentanyl, and will increase in larger threat use patterns reminiscent of a number of substance use and common use,” stated researcher Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse.

In 2020, greater than 93,000 People died from drug overdoses, the biggest one-year enhance on document. The rise was largely pushed by overdoses involving artificial opioids, primarily fentanyl, however overdoses involving methamphetamine have been additionally important.

To evaluate developments in methamphetamine use, researchers analyzed reason for loss of life information from the Nationwide Important Statistics System and 2015-2019 knowledge on adults 18 to 64 from the Nationwide Survey on Drug Use and Well being.

From that point interval, the investigators discovered the variety of overdose deaths involving medication aside from cocaine, largely methamphetamine, rose from greater than 5,500 to just about 15,500, a 180% enhance. The quantity of people that reported utilizing methamphetamine, nonetheless, elevated by 43%.

Additionally, individuals who stated they typically used methamphetamine rose 66% between 2015 and 2019, and the quantity of people that used methamphetamine and cocaine collectively elevated 60%.

Since 2017, extra methamphetamine customers reported higher-risk use patterns, reminiscent of having methamphetamine use dysfunction and/or injecting methamphetamine, which can be contributing to the uptick in meth overdose deaths, the researchers stated.

Traditionally, methamphetamine has largely been utilized by middle-aged white individuals, however now American Indians/Alaska Natives are the largest customers of the drug, in accordance with the report.

“Public well being approaches should be tailor-made to handle methamphetamine use throughout the various communities in danger, and significantly for American Indian and Alaska Native communities, who’ve the best threat for methamphetamine misuse and are too typically underserved,” Volkow stated in an institute information launch.

Additionally, the prevalence of methamphetamine use dysfunction amongst those that didn’t inject the drug elevated 10 occasions amongst Black individuals from 2015 to 2019, a a lot steeper enhance than amongst white or Hispanic individuals.

Methamphetamine use has been linked to HIV transmission via needle-sharing and fascinating in unprotected sexual exercise typically related to meth use. Researchers discovered the prevalence of methamphetamine injection was the best amongst gay males. Methamphetamine use dysfunction with out injection greater than doubled amongst gay or bisexual males. And it greater than tripled amongst heterosexual ladies and lesbian or bisexual ladies, and greater than doubled amongst heterosexual males.

The evaluation additionally discovered that methamphetamine use dysfunction with out injection quadrupled in younger adults ages 18 to 23.

“What makes these knowledge much more devastating is that at the moment, there aren’t any authorized drugs to deal with methamphetamine use dysfunction,” researcher Emily Einstein, chief of NIDA’s Science Coverage Department, stated within the launch.

The report was printed on-line Sept. 22 within the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Extra data

The U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse has extra on methamphetamine abuse.

SOURCE: U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, information launch, Sept. 22, 2021

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