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Methamphetamine OD Deaths Up for All Races, Ethnicities

FRIDAY, Jan. 22, 2021 -- Rates of overdose deaths involving methamphetamine increased for all racial/ethnic groups from 2011 to 2018, according to a research letter published online Jan. 20 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Beth Han, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine as a function of sex, race, and ethnicity.

The researchers found that age-adjusted rates for methamphetamine-involved deaths increased from 1.8 to 10.1 per 100,000 among men (average annual percentage change [AAPC], 29.1) and from 0.8 to 4.5 per 100,000 among women (AAPC, 28.1) during 2011 to 2018. Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native individuals had the highest rates within each sex, increasing from 5.6 to 26.4 per 100,000 among men and from 3.6 to 15.6 per 100,000 among women (AAPCs, 24.2 and 26.4, respectively). The second highest rates were seen among non-Hispanic White individuals during 2011 to 2018; rates increased from 2.2 to 12.6 per 100,000 among men and from 1.1 to 6.2 per 100,000 among women (AAPCs, 29.8 and 29.1, respectively). Low rates were seen among non-Hispanic Blacks. However, rates for non-Hispanic Black men increased from 0.6 to 6.4 per 100,000 from 2011 to 2018, with the highest AAPC (41.4).

"Our results highlight the urgency to support prevention and treatment interventions for methamphetamine-related harms, especially among American Indian and Alaska Native individuals who experience sociostructural disadvantages, but whose cultural strengths can be leveraged to improve addiction outcomes," the authors write.

One author disclosed ownership of stock in General Electric, 3M, and Pfizer.

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