Friday, September 24, 2021

Methamphetamine Use, Overdose Deaths From Psychostimulants Soar

Methamphetamine use in adults aged 18 to 64 years increased 43% between 2015 and 2019, a study in JAMA Psychiatry has found. The study also found that overdose deaths involving psychostimulants other than cocaine, mostly methamphetamine, increased 180% during the same period.

Beth Han, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and colleagues examined data from 195,711 people who responded to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) between 2015 and 2019. The NSDUH, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a comprehensive survey of approximately 67,500 civilian, noninstitutionalized people aged 12 years or older. Han and colleagues also examined data from the 2015 to 2019 National Vital Statistics System Multiple Cause of Death files.

Between 2015 and 2019, frequent methamphetamine use, defined as 100 days or more of use in the past 12 months, increased 66%. Methamphetamine use with cocaine increased 60%.

The study also found that methamphetamine use disorder (MUD) without injection increased 105%. It more than tripled among women and doubled among men, nearly tripled among White people, more than doubled among Latinx people, and increased more than 10-fold among Black people. Risk factors for methamphetamine use, MUD, injection, and frequent methamphetamine use included lower education, lower annual household income, lack of insurance, housing instability, criminal justice involvement, comorbidities (for example, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C virus, depression), suicidal ideation, and polysubstance use.

In a press release, NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., one of the authors of the study, said, “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.”

The data revealed sharp increases in overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, notably a 379% increase in overdose deaths that also involved cocaine and a 266% increase in overdose deaths that also involved opioids.

“A major challenge in addressing the high rates of methamphetamine-associated morbidity and mortality is the lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for MUD treatment, highlighting the urgency for further research and investments in MUD medication development,” Han and colleagues wrote. “Studies on implementation of evidence-based prevention interventions and on public policies are needed to inform the response to the surge in methamphetamine use and associated adverse outcomes.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article, “Rise in Stimulant Misuse Poses Treatment Conundrum.”

(Image: iStock/Phynart Studio)

You Have Just Days to Submit Annual Meeting Abstracts

The deadline to submit abstracts of general sessions, courses, and posters for the 2022 APA Annual Meeting is Thursday, September 30, at 5 p.m. ET. Speakers may indicate if they are willing to present in person, present in-person and virtually at a later date, present remotely with a prerecorded lecture and live Q&A, and/or record the session with no live Q&A.


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