Public/Global Health

Meth use rose across US in pandemic’s early days: laboratory firm

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Illegal use of methamphetamines grew across the U.S. in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, and evidence suggests that other drug use grew during that period as well, according to a laboratory report.

Urine samples from patients across the U.S. tested positive for methamphetamines at a roughly 20 percent higher rate between March and May than previous samples taken between January and March 12, the day before President Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, a report from the laboratory Millennium Health found.

The use of meth spiked higher in some states, including Nevada, which saw a 195 percent increase during that time period, and Mississippi, which saw an increase of 82 percent.

Increased drug use during the pandemic’s early months also appeared to extend to fentanyl, the dangerously-potent synthetic opiate often added to heroin. Fentanyl-positive samples skyrocketed in Iowa by more than 561 percent, while jumping 230 percent in New York and 270 percent in Mississippi.

The report found that “19 states had statistically significant increases or decreases in adjusted positivity rates for at least one of the drugs evaluated; some, such as Ohio and Kentucky, showed increases in more than one drug.” Minnesota was the only state to record decreased positivity rates for meth, fentanyl, cocaine and heroin, according to the study.

“All U.S. census divisions had a significant increase in adjusted UDT positivity rate for at least one drug, except the South Atlantic and West North Central. Notably, the East North Central and the East South Central had significant positivity rate increases for all four drugs. The West North Central saw significant decreases in positivity rates for all four drugs,” it continued.

Evidence of increased drug use nationwide comes as millions of Americans have lost work over the past several months due to businesses shuttered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Financial turmoil brought on by the pandemic could lead to many businesses, including as many as 1 in 4 U.S. restaurants, shutting down, according to top industry experts.

A survey published in June by the Addiction Policy Forum found that 1 in 5 Americans say they have witnessed a family member or themselves increase their recreational drug use during the pandemic.

Tags Cocaine Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump drug addiction Fentanyl Heroin Methamphetamines

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