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Prevention/Epidemiology

Urban Meth: Drug With Rural Ties Becoming "Major Threat" in Some Cities

January 28, 2005

This week, experts who track urban drug trends for the National Institute on Drug Abuse are meeting in Long Beach, Calif., to discuss the growing problem of crystal methamphetamine in some US cities. Experts report a big jump in crystal meth use in the past six months to a year.

Already known as a rural scourge, meth started catching on in cities in the club and rave scenes and among particular populations, such as gay men. That has been the case in cities like Washington and Chicago, according to Thomas Lyons, a research associate with the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Frequently, said Lyons, meth use is linked to increases in STDs, including HIV.

"It's the new major drug threat," said Jim Hall, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse at Florida's Nova Southeastern University. Hall monitors drug use for NIDA in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, where crystal meth is typically more sought after than cocaine or Ecstasy.

Cities are also reporting more meth users seeking drug treatment. In Chicago, meetings of the 12-step group Crystal Meth Anonymous have increased from one night a week a few years ago to five a week. Meth users in Atlanta, particularly females, account for the fastest growing segment of drug addicts seeking treatment. And Minneapolis-St. Paul officials say they're seeing an alarming number of meth users under age 18.

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Dr. Rob Garofolo of Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago said he is seeing a growing number of meth users among the young patients he treats at the hospital's clinic. The drug allows them to stay up for hours and feel in control, he said, but users increasingly become aggressive and paranoid. Meth is highly addictive, noted Garofolo: "You can't just dabble in crystal meth."

Back to other news for January 28, 2005

Adapted from:
Associated Press
01.27.2005; Martha Irvine



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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