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Methamphetamine Deaths, Use Increased From 2015 to 2019

Populations at higher risk for methamphetamine use disorder diversifying rapidly

TUESDAY, Sept. 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Overdose deaths involving methamphetamine nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019, according to a study published online Sept. 22 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Beth Han, M.D., Ph.D., from the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the 2015 to 2019 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health to analyze methamphetamine use, methamphetamine use disorder (MUD), injection, frequency of use, and overdose deaths.

The researchers found that overdose deaths involving psychostimulants other than cocaine (largely methamphetamine) increased 180 percent; methamphetamine use increased 43 percent; frequent methamphetamine use increased 66 percent; and MUD without injection increased 105 percent. The adjusted prevalence of MUD without injection more than tripled among heterosexual women and lesbian or bisexual women and more than doubled among heterosexual men and homosexual or bisexual men. There was more than a 10-fold increase seen among Black individuals, a threefold increase among White individuals, and a twofold increase among Hispanic individuals. Lower educational attainment, lower annual household income, lack of insurance, housing instability, criminal justice involvement, comorbidities (e.g., HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C virus, depression), suicidal ideation, and polysubstance use were all risk factors for methamphetamine use, MUD, injection, and frequent use.

“Public health approaches must be tailored to address methamphetamine use across the diverse communities at risk, and particularly for American Indian and Alaska Native communities, who have the highest risk for methamphetamine misuse and are too often underserved,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed stock holdings with General Electric Company, 3M Company, and Pfizer.

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