A new study carried out by Millennium Health, an accredited specialty laboratory specializing in medication monitoring and drug testing services, has revealed that there is a significant increase in urine drug test positivity for methamphetamine, which was found alone or in combination with other substances.
The research study was published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine and analyzed two million patient specimens collected between 2014 and 2019. Specifically, the study results demonstrate that there has been a 340% nationwide increase in the probability of being positive for methamphetamine in the U.S. Moreover, the results revealed that the individuals whose urine tested positive for methamphetamine were more likely to test positive for other illicit substances, such as non-prescribed fentanyl, heroin and other opioids, with the odds of co-positivity increasing over time. In addition, the study found that urine test positivity for methamphetamines and co-positivity for other illicit substances varied according to geographical location. Furthermore, the study determined that co-positivity for additional illicit substances in addition to methamphetamine further increases risk of overdose and poor treatment outcomes.
Although the U.S. drug overdose crisis is currently largely dominated by opioids, admissions to treatment facilities and hospitalizations linked to methamphetamine use are on the rise over the last decade. In addition, overdose deaths linked to psychostimulants such as methamphetamine have also been on the rise in recent years.
“There are many reasons why this data is so alarming, including the fact that there is no antidote for methamphetamine overdose and no FDA-approved medications indicated for the treatment of methamphetamine use disorder,” said Leah LaRue, the study’s lead author and Director of Scientific Communications at Millenium Health. “Methamphetamine use can have severe consequences, some of which may last for years. Additionally, the combination of methamphetamine with other substances increases the risk of poor health outcomes, including overdose,” she added.
According to the study authors, the results of the study point to rising positivity rates of methamphetamine across the U.S. and the need to for patient evaluation for polysubstance use to create custom treatment plans, as well as to adjust existing treatment plans. The study suggests that the increasing combination of methamphetamine and opioids may require public health education and increased overdose prevention efforts that may not have previously reached non-opioid users. The study authors also suggest that identifying trends in definitive methamphetamine urine tests results can identify geographical areas that have been most affected by the methamphetamine use crisis and to improve treatment and prevention strategies.