METHAMPHETAMINE has overtaken heroin and even cannabis as the drug of choice among regular injecting drug users, a new survey shows.
The South Australian Drug Trends 2012 findings triggered calls for more prevention programs and education about long term damage from meth use.
The study surveyed 93 regular injecting drug users likely to have good knowledge of the illicit drug situation, as well as experts working in the area.
“Interestingly, in 2012 methamphetamine overtook heroin as the drug injected most often,” the report notes.
“Methamphetamine was the most commonly used illicit drug among injecting drug users, as well as the drug injected most often in the past month, overtaking cannabis and heroin respectively.
“In addition, there was an increase in the proportion of Drug and Alcohol Service SA clients who nominated amphetamines as their primary drug of concern.
“Given the negative health effects associated with prolonged methamphetamine use, it is essential education and harm reduction strategies continue to be disseminated among this population.”
The study found methamphetamines, heroin and cannabis were easy to obtain and prices were stable.
It also found 1-in-10 heroin users had overdosed in the previous year; two-thirds of the sample were at risk of psychological distress; and 81 per cent drove under the influence of drugs in the previous year.
Opposition mental health and substance abuse spokesman Duncan McFetridge said the report show the need for young people and substance abusers to be educated and encouraged to get help to curb their addictions.
“There are serious health and mental health consequences from using these illegal substances,” he said. “This is reflected in the increase in substance abuse related hospital admissions in South Australia and increasing numbers of young people presenting with mental illness.” Article Link…