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

Featured News: Number of Inmates With Meth Addiction Jumps in Rural Jails

The proportion of inmates in jails with a moderate to severe stimulant use disorder—including addiction to methamphetamine—has surged in recent years, a study presented at the recent American Society of Addiction Medicine annual meeting suggests.

The study of inmates in two jails in rural North Carolina found over seven times more inmates with a substance use disorder met criteria for addiction to stimulants, including methamphetamine, in 2016 compared with 2008.

“These findings confirm anecdotal reports we were hearing from county sheriffs and correctional officers that they had noticed a considerable increase in meth-related crimes and meth lab seizures in rural areas,” said lead researcher Dr. Steven Proctor, Senior Research Professor and Associate Director of the Institutional Center for Scientific Research at Albizu University in Miami, Florida. “We don’t know whether a change in crime prevention strategy is driving law enforcement to prioritize meth-related crimes, leading to more arrests of people with stimulant use disorders, or whether increased use of meth is leading to an increase in meth-related crimes.”

Full story at drugfree.org

Methamphetamine use linked to heightened stroke risk in the young

The stimulant methamphetamine, also popularly known as ‘speed,’ ‘ice’ and ‘meth,’ is linked to a heightened risk of stroke among young people, reveals a review of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

A stroke caused by a bleed into the brain (haemorrhagic) rather than a clot (ischaemic) is the most common type associated with taking this drug, with men twice as likely to succumb as women, the findings show.

Given the often disabling or fatal consequences of a stroke, and the increasing use of methamphetamine among young people, particularly in countries around the Pacific rim (North America, East and Southeast Asia, and Oceania), the findings are a cause for concern, warn the researchers.

Full story at Science Daily

States Report Resurgence of Meth in Rural Areas

Officials in a number of states are reporting a resurgence of meth, particularly in rural areas, NBC News reports.

Ohio, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota have seen an increase in meth use. Law enforcement officials and health workers say meth doesn’t get as much attention as opioids, because it kills slowly and at lower rates.

Full story of meth resurgence in some states at drugfree.org