Lay knowledge and practices of methamphetamine use to manage opioid-related overdose risks

Raminta Daniulaityte, Sydney M. Silverstein, Kylie Getz, Matthew Juhascik, Megan McElhinny, Steven Dudley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Aim: Methamphetamine use has increased among individuals with opioid use disorder. The key aims of this study are to detail and contextualise lay knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours related to methamphetamine use in relation to opioid overdose risks in an area dominated by non-pharmaceutical fentanyl-type drugs (NPF). Methods: The study recruited 41 individuals in Dayton, Ohio, who reported past 30-day use of methamphetamine and heroin/fentanyl. Interviews included structured and qualitative questions. Urine toxicology analysis was conducted to identify NPFs and other drugs. Open-ended interview sections were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed qualitatively using NVivo. Results: The mean age was 38.3 years, 51% were female, and 100% non-Hispanic white. Participants described an exceedingly unpredictable local opioid market that became saturated with NPFs. The sample tested positive for 10 NPFs, including fentanyl (100%), acetyl fentanyl (61%), tetrahydrofuran fentanyl (29%), and carfentanil (12%). Most participants believed that methamphetamine could help prevent and/or reverse an opioid-related overdose. Nearly half had personally used it to help manage overdose risks related to NPF. These beliefs were embedded in a lay understanding of how methamphetamine works to stimulate the cardiovascular system. They were acted upon in the context of last resort situations that were determined by a lack of immediate access to naloxone, ambiguities surrounding overdose symptomatology, and easy access to plentiful and inexpensive methamphetamine. Conclusion: Lay efforts to rely on methamphetamine to manage NPF-related overdose risks highlight the need for a continuing expansion of take-home-naloxone programs and implementation of other novel harm reduction approaches in communities affected by NPFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103463
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Fentanyl
  • Fentanyl analogs
  • Methamphetamine
  • Mixed methods
  • Opioids
  • Overdose
  • Qualitative methods
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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