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Author Topic: About (death by) Methamphetamine and the Opioid Epidemic  (Read 6231 times)

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About (death by) Methamphetamine and the Opioid Epidemic
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:26:20 PM »
5 articles -- these are excerpts only so take the link for the fuil article


Another important issue of toxicity is the drug’s dose-dependence. The effects are absent or undetectable at low doses, they progress at larger doses, and finally result in lethality at high doses. Toxicity could be measured by the drug’s effects on a particular target (organism, organ, tissue, or cell) and at the level of the whole organism it could be quantified based on LD50. The LD50 for METH with intraperitoneal (ip) (into the body cavity and common for lab rats and not humans) administration is 55 and 57 mg/kg, in rat and mouse, respectively (Davis et al., 1987; Yamamoto, 1963). While an important measure to grade a degree of toxicity, LD50 could be misleading because the toxic effects of METH in humans differ from those in experimental animals, are strongly modulated by environmental conditions, depend on age and activity state, and are influenced by co-use of other substances and individual sensitivity.


Meth Can Kill You in Many Unexpected Ways [Jul 31 2017]

Researchers found that while the leading cause of methamphetamine-related death in Australia was toxic overdose, this was closely followed by death by natural diseases (many of which were cardiovascular) associated with repeated methamphetamine use. Around 18 percent of deaths were by suicide, often by hanging, and around 15 percent of deaths were attributed to accidents caused by disorientation and psychosis, and hundreds of these accidents took place in vehicles. Only 1.5 percent of meth user deaths were attributed to homicide.

In its accompanying media release, the report's lead researcher Professor Shane Darke said it was important the public paid attention to some lesser known aspects of methamphetamine addiction. "To see such large and significant increases in mortality rates over the study period indicates a major methamphetamine problem," he said. "With so much public attention focused on violence, many users may be unaware that heart disease is a major factor in methamphetamine-related death."

Also of particular concern to Darke is the relationship between methamphetamine use and suicide. The study shows how suicide accounted for 300 methamphetamine-related deaths, and that men and women users both suicided violently—often by hanging. This is unusual: in the general population, men are likelier to suicide violently and women more quietly.


Meth, the Forgotten Killer, Is Back. And It’s Everywhere. [FEB. 13, 2018]

Methamphetamine confiscated by the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Ore. The drug, experts say, has never been purer, cheaper or more lethal.

PORTLAND, Ore. — They huddled against the biting wind, pacing from one corner to another hoping to score heroin or pills. But a different drug was far more likely to be on offer outside the train station downtown, where homeless drug users live in tents pitched on the sidewalk.

“Everybody has meth around here — everybody,” said Sean, a 27-year-old heroin user who hangs out downtown and gave only his first name. “It’s the easiest to find.”

The scourge of crystal meth, with its exploding labs and ruinous effect on teeth and skin, has been all but forgotten amid national concern over the opioid crisis. But 12 years after Congress took aggressive action to curtail it, meth has returned with a vengeance. Here in Oregon, meth-related deaths vastly outnumber those from heroin. At the United States border, agents are seizing 10 to 20 times the amounts they did a decade ago. Methamphetamine, experts say, has never been purer, cheaper or more lethal.


“I have been involved with meth for the last 25 years. A wholesale plummet of price per pound, combined with a huge increase of purity, tells me they have perfected the production or manufacturing of methamphetamine,” said Steven Bell, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. “They have figured out the chemical reactions to get the best bang for their bucks.”

Nearly 100 percent pure and about $5 a hit, the new meth is all the more difficult for users to resist. “We’re seeing a lot of longtime addicts who used crack cocaine switch to meth,” said Branden Combs, a Portland officer assigned to the street crimes unit. “You ask them about it, and they’ll say: ‘Hey, it’s half the price, and it’s good quality.’”

Nationally, nearly 6,000 people died from stimulant use — mostly meth — in 2015, a 255 percent increase from 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of the nation’s drug overdose toll that was attributed to stimulants inched up to 11 percent of the deaths.

United States Customs and Border Protection statistics show that in the past five years, the amount of meth seized has tripled, while the seizures for other drugs have declined or had only modest increases.

In Oregon, 232 people died from meth use in 2016, nearly twice as many as died from heroin — and three times as many as died from meth 10 years before, according to the state Department of Health.


The ingredient initially used to make it, ephedrine, was first synthesized in 1887 and later used to treat asthma. It was often used in the military and by truckers who needed to stay awake. For decades, United States lawmakers have been trying to curtail its use. But each time an ingredient was outlawed, something else took its place.

In 2007, Mexico cracked down on pseudoephedrine. The cartels reverted to using phenyl-2-propanone, known as P2P, a method popularized by biker gangs in the 1970s. Although it, too, is restricted and monitored, there are many ways to manufacture it.

A person injects a combination of methamphetamine and heroin in Portland. Meth arrests in Oregon rose 64 percent from 2011 to 2015, the only drug-related arrest category to increase.


Meth crisis in Canada: Addiction explosion means drug users are being turned away by police, hospitals [February 15, 2018]

All eyes were on opioid crisis: Meth addiction was quietly rising in Winnipeg while all eyes were focused on another problem: the opioid crisis.

While the fentanyl issue was levelling off, the number of methamphetamine users was quietly gaining momentum, according to Max Waddell, the inspector in charge of the organised crime division with the Winnipeg Police Service.

Police began to see a pattern in 2016, he said.

"Seizures have gone from 490 seizures in 2016 all the way up to 701 seizures in 2017, seizing over 12 kilos in that year."

In January 2018 alone, Winnipeg police have seized almost six kilos, with a street value of almost $600,000. 

He said that 80 per cent of meth comes from abroad, while the remaining 20 per cent is manufactured in Canada.

Many more deaths: 'The increase of methamphetamine over the past decade is deeply troubling and the impact it is having on our communities is devastating. The issues surrounding addictions are complex and there is no simple solution to a problem that's plagued our province for years. Addressing this problem cannot be left to one department, one level of government, or government alone. It requires co-ordination with our partners in the community and non governmental agencies.'

Willis wants the government to stand alongside the organizations working to solve the crisis. She attended a meeting organized by the province this week to address the issue, but called it "a waste of her time."

"We need more than statements. We need action at this point."

The Current: Drug controls are 'absolutely pathetic,' activist says regulation will save lives
She thinks the full extent of the problem is not apparent yet, and the death toll may be far higher than thought.

"I think that when we look at the stats from the chief medical examiner's office, at the end of this year, we're going to find out there's been many, many, many more meth-related deaths than the ones that become sensationalized in the news."


Oregon meth deaths soar as opioid deaths decline [Feb. 15, 2018]

Meth-related deaths are higher now than they've ever been in Oregon, far surpassing the rates seen at the height of the meth crisis in the mid-2000s.

In 2016, methamphetamine contributed to more deaths than heroin and effectively matched the death rate from prescription opioids.

Experts disagree on why deaths are higher: Some say use is up, others point to an increase in the product's potency and purity. Others posit that those deaths could be a ripple effect from the state's opioid problem.

And there are some who say deaths actually aren't rising, there is just more attention being paid to overdoses now.

But the numbers have caught the eye of the Oregon Health Authority.

Matt Laidler, lead research analyst with the OHA, speculates that deaths are actually rising. In the coming months, he will be digging into the underlying death certificates and investigation reports.

"Answers are fairly sparse at this point," Laidler said.

Deaths have steadily risen since 2012, when there were 51 overdose deaths from methamphetamine, according to the OHA, which derived the data from death certificates.

In 2016, those deaths hit 141. Over that same time frame, heroin deaths dropped from 124 to 107 and pharmaceutical and synthetic opioid overdoses fell from 174 to 149.

Drug-related deaths reported from the medical examiner's office arrive at slightly different conclusions, yet show a similar trend. It reports that in 2016 there were 232 meth-related deaths and 124 heroin-related deaths; in 2012, those numbers were 93 and 147, respectively.

The reason for the discrepancy is the subjective nature of determining what constitutes a "meth-related" death. The investigation takes into account what drugs were in an individual's system and circumstances surrounding their death.


How are heroin and meth use related?

When meth essentially disappeared from Oregon streets, drug users chased the need to satisfy their high with heroin.

Okada said heroin was easier to purchase but users soon turned to prescription medications like oxycodone. The opiate is typically prescribed to treat pain.

"Heroin was becoming more prominent and at one point coinciding with the prescription medication and oxy trend," Okada said.

Chris Gibson, the executive director of the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, said the rise in heroin use can be explained by prescription opioid users who transitioned to heroin because it's cheaper, easily available and provides a more intense high.

Oregon health and law enforcement officials have since shifted their focus to opioid treatment on the heels of Gov. Kate Brown's recent opioid epidemic designation, but methamphetamine deaths have quietly and steadily increased over the past few years.

Members of the Public Safety Coordinating Council examined several recent developments in their respective fields in early January, including health officials' growing focus on Oregon Medical Board recommendations to prescribe fewer opioid pills and shift toward alternative treatments.

"Opioids are pretty lethal and can cause death by themselves, but meth is insidious," said Gunson, the medical examiner. "It kills you in stages and it affects the fabric of society more than opioids. It just doesn't kill people. It is chaos itself."

Methamphetamine, 10.8 grams of cocaine and 404.2 grams of heroin were seized during a drug bust at a Salem home Wednesday morning.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 02:29:32 AM by Chipper »
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