In addition, the study â€“ published in JAMA Psychiatry â€“ suggests that increases in higher-risk patterns of methamphetamine use â€“ including increases in methamphetamine use disorder, frequent use and the use of other drugs at the same time â€“ may be contributing to the rise in overdose deaths.
The surge, NIH said, has largely been driven by rising overdoses involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and overdose deaths involving psychostimulants like methamphetamine have also risen sharply in recent years.
The study's authors analyzed data on overdose deaths involving psychostimulants other than cocaine sourced from cause of death files in the National Vital Statistics System from 2015 to 2019 and assessed the methamphetamine use patterns of American adults ages 18 to 64 as reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
From 2015 to 2019, the number of overdose deaths involving psychostimulant drugs other than cocaine â€“ largely methamphetamine â€“ rose by 180%, from 5,526 to 15,489, according to the data.
The institute said its researchers also noted shifts in the populations using methamphetamine from 2015 to 2019, with American Indians and Alaska Natives with the highest prevalence of methamphetamine, as well as methamphetamine use disorder and methamphetamine injection.
Previous studies found that American Indians and Alaska Natives also had the greatest increases in methamphetamine overdose deaths in recent years.
Furthermore, the analysis found that the prevalence of methamphetamine use disorder among those who did not inject the drug increased tenfold among Black people from 2015 to 2019 and that methamphetamine use disorder without injection quadrupled in young adults ages 18 to 23