Populations and areas most at risk of methamphetamine-related harms: A commentary on Degenhardt et al.

Cindy Woods, Kim Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Degenhardt and colleagues 1 show that the recent shift towards use of crystal methamphetamine (ice) rather than powder methamphetamine in Australia has coincided with a rapid increase in methamphetamine-related harms. They also note that this shift has been accompanied by reports of more young people using the drug in regional and remote areas of Australia. Degenhardt et al.'s article raises two important questions for us: (i) which populations are most at risk of methamphetamine-related harms; and (ii) which regional, rural and remote areas have been most affected by the increase in methamphetamine-related harms?

We examined New South Wales (NSW) data on methamphetamine-related emergency department (ED) presentations for persons aged ≥16 years, identified from a provisional international classification of the diseases diagnosis code and the triage free-text field 2. These data, from 59 EDs where methamphetamine use was recorded, showed a 10-fold increase between the financial years 2009–2010 and 2015–2016 3. Over the last two years, 2013–2014 to 2015–2016, the number of methamphetamine-related ED presentations doubled from 2455 to 4771 presentations, with males comprising 68% of methamphetamine-related presentations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-6
Number of pages2
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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