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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Oct 1;125(3):290-4. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.03.004. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

All-cause mortality among individuals with disorders related to the use of methamphetamine: a comparative cohort study.

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Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Social, Epidemiological Research Department, 33 Russell St., Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2S1, Canada.



Understanding the mortality rate of methamphetamine users, especially in relation to other drug users, is a core component of any evaluation of methamphetamine-related harms. Although methamphetamine abuse has had a major impact on United States (U.S.) drug policy and substance-abuse treatment utilization, large-scale cohort studies assessing methamphetamine-related mortality are lacking.


The current study identified cohorts of individuals hospitalized in California from 1990 to 2005 with ICD-9 diagnoses of methamphetamine- (n=74,139), alcohol- (n=582,771), opioid- (n=67,104), cannabis- (n=46,548), or cocaine-related disorders (n=48,927), and these groups were followed for up to 16 years. Age-, sex-, and race-adjusted standardized mortality rates (SMRs) were generated.


The methamphetamine cohort had a higher SMR (4.67, 95% CI 4.53, 4.82) than did users of cocaine (2.96, 95% CI 2.87, 3.05), alcohol (3.83, 95% CI 3.81, 3.85), and cannabis (3.85, 95% CI 3.67, 4.03), but lower than opioid users (5.71, 95% CI 5.60, 5.81).


Our study demonstrates that individuals with methamphetamine-use disorders have a higher mortality risk than those with diagnoses related to cannabis, cocaine, or alcohol, but lower mortality risk than persons with opioid-related disorders. Given the lack of long-term cohort studies of mortality risk among individuals with methamphetamine-related disorders, as well as among those with cocaine- or cannabis-related conditions, the current study provides important information for the assessment of the comparative drug-related burden associated with methamphetamine use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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