Opioids and methamphetamine: a tale of two crises

The shift in public health priorities to opioids has left the methamphetamine market to flourish and primed for resurgence
The Lancet (UK)
Saturday, February 24, 2018

The unchecked acceleration of opioid-related deaths in the USA is, by many measures, the worst of times. Prescriptions peaked in 2012 at more than 255 million (81·3 per 100 persons), then subsequently declined by about 15%. Yet the rate of opioid-related deaths has continued to rise. In the grim ranking of overdose deaths, illegally manufactured fentanyl and analogues have made the most drastic gains, claiming over 20 100 Americans in 2016. Deaths from natural and semisynthetic opioids, such as oxycodone and morphine, remain exceedingly high (14 400). But while the opioid crisis has exploded, the lull in the methamphetamine epidemic has quietly and swiftly reversed course, now accounting for 11% of the total number of overdose deaths.