Newswise — Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, is dean and professor of the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS). Halkitis, author of Methamphetamine Addiction: Biological Foundations, Psychological Factors, and Social Consequences, has been studying methamphetamine and polydrug use for over two decades. He foresaw the resurgence of the methamphetamine crisis in his 2017 editorial “The Crystal Meth Crisis: Addiction in America goes Beyond Opioids.”
Overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, like meth, have dramatically risen over the last five years. In some areas of the country, methamphetamine use is more widespread than opioid use. In 2017, 10,333 individuals succumbed to a psychostimulant overdose, with over half of the deaths due to stimulants alone. A smaller proportion of deaths was due to stimulant use in combination with opioids and other synthetic narcotics.
“Meth use rarely happens in isolation; polydrug use is common and can result in the unnecessary deaths that we are seeing,” said Halkitis. “Unfortunately, meth use is also rampant in hidden and marginalized populations - including the rural poor and Black HIV positive men - not garnering the attention that the opioid crisis has gotten.”
Halkitis is also author of “Out in Time The Public Lives of Gay Men from Stonewall to the Queer Generation” where he examines methamphetamine use in gay men.