Treatment

Methamphetamine can be highly addictive in both short and long-term use due to the fast effects they produce in the brain.

There are currently no FDA-approved medications available to treat methamphetamine use disorder; however, various forms of psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, drug counseling, and relapse prevention) have been shown to be effective in reducing its use and its commonly associated psychiatric symptoms (Stuart 2019). 

Treatment Admissions

Across all publicly funded substance use disorder (SUD) programs in LAC from fiscal year FY0506 to FY1819, there were 185,366 treatment admissions in which clients reported methamphetamine as their primary drug problem. 

The number of treatment clients and admissions for methamphetamine has been increasing since FY1112. Similarly, the proportion of all treatment clients and admissions with a primary methamphetamine problem increased since FY1112 (Figures 1-2). 

(Note: Some clients have multiple treatment admissions during the fiscal year)

Demographics

Age

From FY0506 to FY1819, adults aged 26-34 years (36%) accounted for the largest proportion of primary methamphetamine admissions followed by adults aged 35-44 years (25%), and was lowest among youth and elderly individuals (Figure 3). 

Adults aged 26-34 years persisted in having the largest proportion of methamphetamine admissions from FY0506 to FY1819 with increasing numbers since FY1112 (Figure 4).

Gender

From FY0506-FY1819, over half (55%) of primary methamphetamine admissions were among males. Although this male majority persisted, the gender disparity has been decreasing, with nearly equal proportions starting in FY1112 (Figures 5-6).

Race/Ethnicity

Latinxs accounted for over half (59%) of all primary methamphetamine admissions, followed by whites (29%), with a small proportion of blacks (6%) and other groups (Figure 7)

The proportion of methamphetamine admissions among Latinxs steadily increased from FY0506 to FY1819, while those for whites and blacks have consistently decreased (Figures 8). 

Route of Administration

The manner in how methamphetamine is used is important in its abuse risk potential. Each route of administration provides a different level of euphoric response, with some heightening blood stimulant levels at a faster rate and thus providing a "high" feeling instantly. Smoking and inhalation are known as the most popular methods of using methamphetamine, as their effects are experienced quickly and result in "highs" similar to that by injection, and are viewed by users as a safer option than injection which is associated with more negative health outcomes (Rawson, 1999).

In LAC from FY0506-FY1819, smoking was the most frequently reported route of administration (76%), followed by inhalation (13%), and injection (7%) among primary methamphetamine clients (Figure 9). This pattern remained similar over the years (Figure 10). 

References

Los Angeles County Participant Reporting System (LACPRS). Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Faraone, S. V., Rostain, A. L., Montano, C. B., Mason, O., Antshel, K. M., & Newcorn, J. H. (2019). Systematic Review: Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants: Risk Factors, Outcomes, and Risk Reduction Strategies. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Stuart, A. M., Baker, A. L., Denham, A. M., Lee, N. K., Hall, A., Oldmeadow, C., Dunlop, A., Bowman J., & McCarter, K. (2019). Psychological treatment for methamphetamine use and associated psychiatric symptom outcomes: A systematic review. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Rawson, R. A., & Rawson, R. A. (1999). Chapter 5—Medical Aspects of Stimulant Use Disorders. In Treatment for stimulant use disorders. Rockville, MD: U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64323/.