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Study Finds High Rates of Combined Opioids, Methamphetamine Use

By Maryland Today Staff

The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland released a report showing high rates of combined opioid and methamphetamine use in patients seeking treatment for a substance use disorder.

The report, based on drug testing in Oregon between December 2017 and February 2018, found that specimens that contained methamphetamine were three times more likely to contain a non-fentanyl opioid than specimens without methamphetamine (48% vs. 15%).

Other notable findings include:

  • Of 103 samples, 61% contained methamphetamine, and patients found positive for methamphetamine usage were, on average, five years younger than patients testing negative.
  • 31% of specimens contained four or more drugs/drug classes, defined as “polydrug” use.
  • Marijuana was found in 47% of samples, and was more frequently detected than amphetamine (39%) and/or cocaine (16%). Fentanyl showed up in just 3% of the samples tested.

“This study provides a unique opportunity to build on the urinalysis results and improve the understanding of researchers, practitioners and policymakers of the recent increases in methamphetamine use and the combined use of methamphetamine and opioids,” said Eric Wish, director of CESAR and principal investigator of the National Drug Early Warning System project.

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