Meth Use is Surging in Parts of US

Across the country, overdose deaths involving meth more than quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Admissions to treatment facilities for meth are up 17%. Hospitalizations related to meth jumped by about 245% from 2008 to 2015, and throughout the West and Midwest, 70% of local law enforcement agencies say meth is their biggest drug threat.

With public health officials focusing on the opioid epidemic in recent years and directing the bulk of funding and attention to opioids, methamphetamine use is surging in many parts of the U.S., particularly the West, leaving first responders and addiction treatment providers struggling to handle a rising need.

Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor of medicine and substance use researcher at the University of California-San Francisco, says that the trend in rising stimulant use is nationwide, with cocaine being predominant on the East Coast and meth on the West Coast.

Although meth is not as lethal as opioids (47,600 people died of opioid-related overdoses in 2017 compared with 10,333 deaths involving meth), data is showing an increase in meth-related deaths. The hypotheses to explain the growth in meth-related overdoses are:

  • There is an increase in deaths by brain hemorrhage or heart attack in aging meth users 
  • Today’s supply of meth is much more potent than years ago
  • Current Street meth supply is often found mixed with fentanyl

Last year, three young people in San Francisco died together after smoking meth which prompted the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project to publish an alert for Meth/Speed users.

The alert informs drug users to use caution as the drug supply is inconsistent and unpredictable showing consistent positive results for Fentanyl in crystal/meth (speed), black heroin, powdered heroin, and crack cocaine. The alert goes on to explain that if one should witness someone experiencing symptoms of an opioid overdose, to immediately call for help. These symptoms include:

  • respiratory distress/not breathing
  • unresponsiveness
  • snoring/gurgling sound
  • skin turning blue or gray
  • rigid chest and limbs/limb-locking

If you or someone you love is struggling with meth addiction and would like to receive information about private inpatient meth rehab and our specialized chronic relapse program, please contact our admissions department at 800-851-3291. All calls are private and confidential.

Reference: Kaiser Health News