Attitudes and experiences with fentanyl contamination of methamphetamine: exploring self-reports and urine toxicology among persons who use methamphetamine and other drugs

Raminta Daniulaityte, Lance Ruhter, Matthew Juhascik, Sydney Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: There are growing concerns about illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) contamination of methamphetamine. This study aims to characterize the lay views and experiences with IMF-contaminated methamphetamine (IMF/meth) and identify participants with unknown IMF exposures through urine toxicology analysis. Methods: Between December-2019 and November-2021, structured interviews were conducted with 91 individuals who reported past 30-day use of methamphetamine and resided in Dayton, Ohio, USA. Lab-based urine toxicology analyses were conducted to identify fentanyl/analogs, methamphetamine, and other drugs. Bivariate analyses were conducted to identify characteristics associated with attitudes and experiences with IMF/meth, and unknown IMF exposures. Results: The majority (95.6%) of the study participants were non-Hispanic white, and 52.7% were female. Past 30-day use of methamphetamine was reported on a mean of 18.7 (SD 9.1) days, and 62.6% also reported past 30-day use of heroin/IMF. Most (76.9%) had a history of an unintentional drug-related overdose, but 38.5% rated their current risk for an opioid overdose as none. Besides fentanyl (71.9%), toxicology analysis identified nine fentanyl analogs/metabolites (e.g., 42.7% acetyl fentanyl, 19.0% fluorofentanyl, 5.6% carfentanil), and 12.4% tested positive for Xylazine. The majority (71.4%) believed that IMF/meth was common, and 59.3% reported prior exposures to IMF/meth. 11.2% tested positive for IMF but reported no past 30-day heroin/IMF use (unknown exposure to IMF). Views that IMF/meth was common showed association with homelessness (p = 0.04), prior overdose (p = 0.028), and greater perceived risk of opioid overdose (p = 0.019). Self-reported exposure to IMF/meth was associated with homelessness (p = 0.007) and obtaining take-home naloxone (p = 0.025). Individuals with unknown IMF exposure (test positive for IMF, no reported past 30-day heroin/IMF use) were older (49.9 vs. 41.1 years, p < 0.01), and reported more frequent past 30-day use of methamphetamine (24.4 vs. 18.0 days, p < 0.05). They indicated lower perceived risk of opioid overdose (0.1 vs. 1.9, scale from 0 = “none” to 4 = “high,” p < 0.001). Discussion: This study suggests a need for targeted interventions for people who use methamphetamine and expansion of drug checking and other harm reduction services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
JournalHarm Reduction Journal
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Drug contamination
  • Fentanyl
  • Fentanyl analogs
  • Harm reduction
  • Methamphetamine
  • Polydrug use
  • Toxicology
  • Xylazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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