State sees increase in meth-related overdoses - Albuquerque Journal

State sees increase in meth-related overdoses

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

While the rising death toll from heroin and narcotic painkillers has dominated public attention, New Mexico hospital records show that methamphetamine has caused a similar spike in deaths and emergency room visits, a state Department of Health report found.

a01_jd_16may_methHeroin and prescription opioids account for most overdose deaths in New Mexico, but methamphetamine overdose deaths have climbed steadily since 2008. And emergency room visits linked to amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse nearly tripled from 2010 to 2014.

The data suggest that methamphetamine use is increasing in New Mexico, said State Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Landen.

“Changes in overdose deaths reflect changes in the use of those drugs,” Landen said. “We would expect that increased deaths associated with methamphetamine suggest increased use.”

Deaths involving methamphetamine more than doubled in New Mexico from 39 in 2009 to 111 in 2014, state data shows.

The number of amphetamine- and meth-related visits to New Mexico emergency departments increased from 382 in 2010 to 1,097 in 2014, according to an April 22 issue of New Mexico Epidemiology, a Department of Health publication.

The changes also seem to correspond with a shifting source of methamphetamine to large producers in Mexico, Landen said.

“The source of the meth seems to have shifted from small mom-and-pop labs in the U.S. to larger labs, more industrial labs, in Mexico,” he said. “With that, the purity or quality of methamphetamine has improved.”

Amphetamine and methamphetamine are stimulant drugs that affect the central nervous system, the report said. Amphetamines are prescription medications, such as Adderal, which are used to treat attention hyperactivity disorder, it said.

Methamphetamine, a more potent form of amphetamine, is produced and sold illegally by names including meth, crank, crystal, ice and speed.

In New Mexico, methamphetamine causes more overdose deaths than prescription amphetamines, Landen said.

Physicians have few tools to counteract the effects of a meth overdose, Landen said.

“For opioids, we have Narcan, or naloxone, to reverse the overdose,” he said. “We don’t have a similar drug that reverses methamphetamine overdoses.”

Testing also shows that opioid drugs and heroin are found in the blood of most people who die from meth overdoses, suggesting that many users abuse both heroin and meth, Landen said.

Jennifer Weiss-Burke, executive director of Serenity Mesa Youth Recovery Center, said many of the young addicts at her residential facility have used both meth and heroin.

“In the past couple years, I think meth has really made a comeback,” Weiss-Burke said.

“They are using one drug to counteract the other drug,” she said. “They will use meth when they want to stay up, then they will use heroin to come down from that so they can sleep.”

Home » News » Albuquerque News » State sees increase in meth-related overdoses


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
State offers wildfire assistance grants
ABQnews Seeker
Small businesses and self-employed New Mexicans ... Small businesses and self-employed New Mexicans who suffered financial losses due to wildfires and floods this year are eligible for grants through a new ...
2
New Mexico needs every worker it can get
ABQnews Seeker
Many factors lead to state’s dismal ... Many factors lead to state’s dismal workforce participation rates
3
ABQ homicide detectives investigating fatal shooting
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police are investigating after a ... Albuquerque police are investigating after a maintenance worker was killed Sunday night while doing a random check on vacant apartments in the complex where ...
4
Take your employer up on health care FSA offers
ABQnews Seeker
There is a mythology of aging ... There is a mythology of aging baby boomers complaining about their ailments. As a 'young-older' guy fortunate to have no known physical issues, I ...
5
New Mexico slips to 50th in child well-being
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's ranking in overall child ... New Mexico's ranking in overall child well-being slipped from 49th to 50th, according ...
6
MLK offramp gone; MVD out of envelopes
ABQnews Seeker
Northbound I-25 MLK exit permanently closed ... Northbound I-25 MLK exit permanently closed starting Monday
7
APD seeking silver sedan in connection with murders of ...
ABQnews Seeker
Police said the vehicle officers are ... Police said the vehicle officers are looking for is a dark gray or silver, four-door Volkswagen, perhaps a Jetta or a Passat, with tinted ...
8
New Batteries Plus opens in Los Lunas
ABQnews Seeker
A new Batteries Plus opened in ... A new Batteries Plus opened in Los Lunas on Saturday. This is the national chain's sixth location in the state. The franchise is owned ...
9
Shooting at an apartment complex in NE Albuquerque leaves ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say a man was ... Albuquerque police say a man was shot to death at an apartment complex in the 500 block of Tramway NE early Sunday morning. Officers ...