Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Methamphetamine-related Emergency Visits on Rise, SAMHSA Reports

A new report on emergency department (ED) visits for adverse health events associated with illicit use of methamphetamine, with its high potential for abuse and addiction, suggests that unlawful use of the drug is on the rise.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducted an analysis to assess the prevalence ED visits related to illicit use of methamphetamine from 2007 to 2011. Findings showed that ED visits jumped dramatically from 67,954 in 2007 to 102,961 in 2011. In addition, 62% of the methamphetamine-related ED visits in 2011 involved the use of at least one other substance. Marijuana (22%) and alcohol (16%) were the two substances most frequently associated with methamphetamine-related ED visits.

Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., commented that “this report shows that methamphetamine use may be on the rise again, and we must do everything we can to address this serious public-health problem." Clark stressed that it is of utmost importance to use ED visits as a critical opportunity to talk and intervene with people who have a substance use disorder involving methamphetamine so that they can more fully understand its dangers and know where to they can turn to for help.

To read more about illicit use of methamphetamines and associated adverse health events, see the Psychiatric News articles, "Abused Substances Differ in Rural, Urban," and "Psychotic Symptoms Increase With More Frequent Meth Use."


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