Methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled in four years: research

Methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled in four years: research
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Methamphetamine-related overdose death rates in adults between ages 18 and 64 nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019. 

A study published Wednesday in the journal "Jama Psychiatry" showed that mixing drugs and more frequent methamphetamine use were among the possible reasons for the rising death rates.

The research was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and found that the number of people using methamphetamine increased by only 43 percent in four years, according to an NIH press release.

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However, overdose deaths from psychostimulant drugs other than cocaine, most of which the researchers attributed to methamphetamine use, increased by 180 percent over the same time period.

The report also showed that more diverse groups were struggling with methamphetamine use disorder, the NIH said.

Historically, the drug is used by middle-aged white people, but recently groups of American Indians/Alaska Natives were using it most prevalently, the release reported. 

The study also showed that methamphetamine use disorder without injection increased by 10 times among Black people between 2015 and 2019. The number of young people who used the drug without injection also quadrupled during those years. 

"What makes these data even more devastating is that currently, there are no approved medications to treat methamphetamine use disorder,” Chief of NIDA’s Science Policy Branch and a co-author of the study Dr. Emily Einstein said in the release. 

"NIDA is working to develop new treatment approaches, including safe and effective medications urgently needed to slow the increase in methamphetamine use, overdoses, and related deaths,” Einstein added.