John Eadie told attendees of the 2018 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on Monday that while opioids remain a threat to communities nationwide, stimulants are becoming a more significant issue in several states. Because the threat from stimulants is growing rapidly, he remains concerned that stakeholders might not be able to get out in front of the trend if they don’t recognize it and act quickly.
“We are working to try to provide an early warning system to this country about the new threats that are happening,” Eadie said. “And unfortunately we found a big one: stimulants.”
Eadie, who is the Public Health & Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Project Coordinator for the National Emerging Threat Initiative of the National HIDTA Assistance Center, shared exclusive trend data on the types of substances collected through law enforcement seizures. And the data is clear that stimulant trends show increases on the demand side as well as the supply side.
For example, between 2010 and 2016, the volume of heroin seized by law enforcement equaled more than 38,000 kilograms. However, the volume of cocaine and methamphetamine exceeded 596,000 kilograms. To compare, the numbers represent 15.5 kilograms of stimulants seized for every 1 kilogram of heroin.
Meanwhile, the rate of stimulant prescribing is increasing—by as much as 50% in some states—and prescription drug monitoring programs aren’t tracking the drug class to identify potential misuse. Another concern is that stimulant overdose can't be reversed with naloxone. More resources will be needed to address the issue.
“We need to become aware of it in a hurry because it is very substantial,” Eadie said.
The National Cocaine, Meth & Stimulant Summit is produced by the Institute for the Advancement of Behavioral Healthcare, the leading media and events producer in the behavioral healthcare field. The Institute also produces the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, the largest national annual gathering on the opioid crisis.