Meth a Larger Factor in Overdose Deaths, CDC Says

The number of fatal overdoses involving meth more than tripled between 2011 and 2016, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of overdose deaths involving meth grew from less than 5 percent to nearly 11 percent. Fentanyl was involved in the highest percentage of fatal overdoses in 2016, followed by heroin and cocaine.

A bigger share of U.S. drug overdose deaths are being caused by methamphetamine, say federal health officials. The number of fatal overdoses involving meth more than tripled between 2011 and 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The percentage of overdose deaths involving meth grew from less than 5 percent to nearly 11 percent. Meth is not the main killer among illicit drugs. Fentanyl was involved in the highest percentage of fatal overdoses in 2016, followed by heroin and cocaine. Meth was fourth. It was eighth as recently as 2012.

It’s not clear why meth overdoses are growing, but some people who had been abusing opioid pain pills or shooting heroin have turned to meth, a stimulant, to offset the downer effects of those drugs, said Theodore Cicero, a Washington University researcher who has studied the rise of meth use among people who use opioids. Meth is ususually smoked, snorted or injected. Chronic use has been tied to sleeplessness, paranoia and other mood and mental health disorders. “It’s a very dangerous drug to mess around with,” Cicero said. Meth has become more prevalent in certain states — including West Virginia, which has the nation’s highest overdose death rate. The CDC report looked at death certificates on 64,000 U.S. overdose deaths in 2016 and compared them with the five previous years. Many of the people who died had used multiple drugs — fentanyl was often in the mix.

from https://thecrimereport.org