Study Shows Legislation Effective in Reducing Meth-Related ER Visits

Study Shows Legislation Effective in Reducing Meth-Related ER Visits

Despite the obvious hazards caused by methamphetamine use, the drug continues to be a problem. It is easy to make, readily accessible and instantly addictive, making it a significant threat to any drug free initiative.

One initiative, however, seems like it may be working. According to a recent Science Daily release, a new law in Oregon is reducing the number of methamphetamine-related emergency room visits.

The state passed a law that prohibited the sale of over-the-counter decongestants with pseudoephedrine as an ingredient. In the first year of this legislation, emergency room visits decreased significantly.

Rob Hendrickson, M.D., the principal investigator in a study conducted by Oregon Health & Science Emergency Department physician-researchers noted that this was one of the first studies conducted that suggests that the limitation of supply of an illicit substance could be effective at decreasing its use and the resulting medical problems.

Research conducted suggests that the legislation put in place by the state that limits the supply of methamphetamine easily correlates with the decrease in methamphetamine use. In particular, the effect has been a decrease in the medical problems associated with the drug.

Oregon became the first state in July 2006 to determine specific over-the-counter medications should be available be prescription only. These drugs included medicines that contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine, each of which is a key ingredient in methamphetamine.

After this legislation was passed, Hendrickson’s team evaluated emergency room visit data and found there was a 35 percent decrease in visits related to meth and a 29 percent decrease in patients admitted as a result of meth use.

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