The Scourge of Methamphetamine: Impact on a Level I Trauma Center

Division of Trauma, Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, California, USA.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 10/2007; 63(3):531-7. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318074d3ac
Source: PubMed


Methamphetamine (METH) use is associated with high-risk behavior and serious injury. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of METH use in trauma patients on a Level I trauma center to guide prevention efforts.
A retrospective registry-based review of 4,932 consecutive trauma patients who underwent toxicology screening at our center during a 3-year period (2003-2005). This sample represented 76% of all trauma patients seen during this interval.
From the first half of 2003 to the second half of 2005, overall use of METH increased 70% (p < 0.001), surpassing marijuana as the most common illicit drug used by the trauma population. Other illicit drug use did not significantly change during this interval. METH-positive patients were more likely to have a violent mechanism of injury (47.3% vs. 26.3%, p < 0.001), with 33% more assaults (p < 0.01), 96% more gunshot wounds (p < 0.001), and 158% more stab wounds (p < 0.001). They were more likely to have attempted suicide (4.8% vs. 2.6%, p < 0.01), to have had an altercation with law enforcement (1.8% vs. 0.3%, p < 0.001), or been the victim of domestic violence (4.4% vs. 2.1%, p < 0.001). METH users had a higher mean Injury Severity Score (11.2 vs. 10.0, p < 0.01), were 62% more likely to receive mechanical ventilation (p < 0.001), and 53% more likely to undergo an operation (p < 0.001). They were more prone to leave against medical advice (4.9% vs. 2.1%, p < 0.001) and 113% more likely to die from their injuries (6.4% vs. 3.0%, p < 0.001). The average cost of care per METH user was 9% higher than that for nonusers, and METH users were more likely to be unfunded than nonusers (47.6% vs. 23.1%, p < 0.001). The annual uncompensated cost of care of METH users increased 70% during the study period to $1,477,108 in 2005.
METH use in trauma patients increased significantly and was associated with adverse outcomes and a significant financial burden on our trauma center. Evidence-based prevention efforts must be a priority for trauma centers to help stop the scourge of METH.

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    • "At a larger societal level, the financial burden of methamphetamine use on communities is significant. In the U.S., the average cost of healthcare per methamphetamine user was 9% higher than that for non-users, and methamphetamine users were less likely to be insured compared with non-users (Swanson et al., 2007). Beyond direct health care costs, resources forgone because of reduced productivity among methamphetamine users may pose a bigger economic burden on a community. "
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    ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, South Africa's Western Cape has experienced a dramatic increase in methamphetamine ("tik") use. Our study explored local impressions of the impact of tik use in a peri-urban township community in Cape Town, South Africa. We conducted individual in-depth interviews with 55 women and 37 men who were regular attendees of alcohol-serving venues. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. A content analysis approach was used to identify themes related to the impact of tik use based on levels of the socio-ecological framework (individual, inter-personal and community). Tik use was reported to be a greater issue among Coloureds, compared to Blacks. At an individual level, respondents reported that tik use had adverse effects on mental, physical, and economic well-being, and limited future opportunities through school drop-out and incarceration. At an inter-personal level, respondents reported that tik use contributed to physical and sexual violence as well as increased rates of sexual risk behaviour, particularly through transactional sex relationships. Respondents described how tik use led to household conflict, and had negative impacts on children, including neglect and poor birth outcomes. At a community level, respondents linked tik use to increased rates of crime, violence and corruption, which undercut community cohesion. Our results highlight the negative impact that tik is having on individuals, households and the overall community in a peri-urban setting in South Africa. There is a clear need for interventions to prevent tik use in South Africa and to mitigate and address the impact of tik on multiple levels.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · The International journal on drug policy
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    • "The link between drug use and infectious complications after trauma can also be explained by an impaired respiratory and cardiovascular response to injury [43]. Previous studies have shown that patients using cocaine and sedatives are more likely to require mechanical ventilation during hospitalization [44]. A recent investigation of methamphetamine use in trauma patients found that users were 62% more likely to require ventilator support following injury [45]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol and drug use is known to be a major factor affecting the incidence of traumatic injury. However, the ways in which immediate pre-injury substance use affects patients' clinical care and outcomes remains unclear. The goal of the present study is to determine the associations between pre-injury use of alcohol or drugs and patient injury severity, hospital course, and clinical outcome. This study used more than 200,000 records from the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB), which is the largest trauma registry in the United States. Incidents in the NTDB were placed into one of four classes: alcohol related, drug related, alcohol-and-drug related, and substance negative. Logistic regression models were used to determine comorbid conditions or treatment complications that were significantly associated with pre-injury substance use. Hospital charges were associated with the presence or absence of drugs and alcohol, and patient outcomes were assessed using discharge disposition as delimited by the NTDB. The rates of complications arising during treatment were 8.3, 10.9, 9.9 and 8.6 per one hundred incidents in the alcohol related, drug related, alcohol-and-drug related, and substance-negative classes, respectively. Regression models suggested that pre-injury alcohol use is associated with a 15% higher risk of infection, whereas pre-injury drug use is associated with a 30% higher risk of infection. Pre-injury substance use did not appear to significantly impact clinical outcomes following treatment for traumatic injury, however. This study suggests that pre-injury drug use is associated with a significantly higher complication rate. In particular, infection during hospitalization is a significant risk for both alcohol and drug related trauma visits, and drug-related trauma incidents are associated with increased risk for additional circulatory complications. Although drug and alcohol related trauma incidents are not associated with appreciably worse clinical outcomes, patients experiencing such complications are associated with significantly greater length of stay and higher hospitalization costs. Therefore significant benefits to trauma patients could be gained with enhanced surveillance for pre-injury substance use upon admission to the ED, and closer monitoring for infection or circulatory complications during their period of hospitalization.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes
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    • "Close to 25 million people worldwide are estimated to use methamphetamine and amphetamine (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, 2007) and many urban centres across North America are experiencing a significant increase in use of crystal methamphetamine (CM) (Buxton and Dove, 2008). Methamphetamine use has been associated with multiple adverse health outcomes, and interpersonal risks such as self-harm and violence (Boddiger, 2005; Buxton et al., 2008; Newman et al., 2004 and Semple et al., 2004b), which represent a heavy social burden to communities (Brouwer et al., 2006 and Swanson et al., 2007). Unlike other illicit drugs, such as cocaine or heroin that are produced and/or refined outside North America, CM can be produced locally and inexpensively using easy-to-access precursor chemicals. "
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    ABSTRACT: Given growing concern of the sexual risks associated with crystal methamphetamine use and the dearth of research characterizing the use of methamphetamine among street-based sex workers (FSWs), this study aimed to characterize the prevalence and individual, social, and structural contexts of crystal methamphetamine use among FSWs in a Canadian setting. Drawing on data from a prospective cohort, we constructed multivariate logistic models to examine independent correlates of crystal methamphetamine among FSWs over a two-year follow-up period using generalized estimating equations. Of a total of 255 street-based FSWs, 78 (32%) reported lifetime crystal methamphetamine use and 24% used crystal methamphetamine during the two-year follow-up period, with no significant associations between methamphetamine use and sexual risk patterns. In a final multivariate GEE model, FSWs who used crystal methamphetamine had a higher proportional odds of dual heroin injection (adjOR=2.98, 95%CI: 1.35-5.22), having a primary male sex partner who procures drugs for them (adjOR=1.79, 95%CI: 1.02-3.14), and working (adjOR=1.62, 95%CI: 1.04-2.65) and living (adjOR=1.41, 95%CI: 1.07-1.99) in marginalized public spaces. The findings highlight the crucial need to move beyond the individual to gender-focused safer environment interventions that mediate the physical and social risk environment of crystal methamphetamine use among FSWs.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Drug and alcohol dependence
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