U.S. saw big rise in meth, fentanyl use in 2019

A study of over 1 million urine drug tests from across the United States shows soaring rates of use of methamphetamines and fentanyl, often used together in potentially lethal ways.

The drug test results came primarily from clinics dealing with primary care, pain management or substance abuse disorders.

The results showed that between 2013 and 2019, urine samples testing positive for methamphetamine (“meth”) have skyrocketed sixfold, from about 1.4% of samples testing positive in 2013 to about 8.4% in 2019.

Similarly, the percentage of drug urine tests coming back positive for the highly potent—and sometimes fatal—opioid fentanyl have more than quadrupled since 2013, the study found. In 2013, just over 1% of the urine samples tested positive for fentanyl, but by 2019 that number was nearing 5%, said a team led by Dr. Eric Dawson, of Millennium Health in San Diego.

Full article at US News

Meth Causes More Overdoses Than Any Other Drug in Western States

Methamphetamine caused more overdose deaths than any other drug in western states in 2017, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nationwide, fentanyl remains the most common cause of drug overdoses, The Wall Street Journal reports. Meth was the fourth-leading cause of drug overdoses nationally. Of the 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, fentanyl was involved in 39%, compared with 23% for heroin, 21% for cocaine and 13% for meth.

The CDC said 2018 could be the first year that overdoses deaths have dropped since 1990. The agency is still calculating 2018 drug overdose statistics.

Full story at Partnership For Drug-Free Kids

Meth’s Resurgence Spotlights Lack Of Meds To Combat The Addiction

In 2016, news reports warned the public of an opioid epidemic gripping the nation.

But Madeline Vaughn, then a lead clinical intake coordinator at the Houston-based addiction treatment organization Council on Recovery, sensed something different was going on with the patients she checked in from the street.

Their behavior, marked by twitchy suspicion, a poor memory and the feeling that someone was following them, signaled that the people coming through the center’s doors were increasingly hooked on a different drug: methamphetamine.

Full story at Kaiser News

More pregnant women are using meth and opioids, study finds

Amphetamine and opioid use in pregnancy increased substantially over the last decade in the United States, a new Michigan Medicine-led study finds. And a disproportionate rise occurred in rural counties.

Among pregnant women in all parts of the country, amphetamine-affected births (mostly attributed to methamphetamine) doubled — from 1.2 per 1,000 hospitalizations in 2008-2009 to 2.4 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations by 2014-2015, the new research finds.

The rate of opioid use also quadrupled from 1.5 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 2004-2005 to 6.5 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 2014-2015, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study sample included about 47 million deliveries occurring in U.S. hospitals over the 12-year-period.

Full story at Science Daily

Opioid users could benefit from meth-relapse prevention strategy, study finds

New research raises the possibility that a wider group of people battling substance use disorders may benefit from a Scripps Research-developed relapse-prevention compound than previously thought.

The research, published recently in the journal Learning and Memory, shows that the compound appears to be effective even if multiple drugs of abuse are involved, such as methamphetamine in combination with either opioids or nicotine. Polysubstance use is common among people addicted to methamphetamine, in part because the rate of smoking is high among meth users. In addition, the meth available today is so potent that many users turn to opioids to dampen the high.

The potential medication, a modified form of the compound blebbistatin, works by breaking down methamphetamine-linked memories that can trigger craving and relapse. The opportunity to boost treatment success by modulating emotional memory is a novel concept, and a promising one, says Courtney Miller, PhD, associate professor on the Florida campus of Scripps Research and senior author of the study.

Full story at Science Daily