Methamphetamine & Alcohol Prevalence (MAP)
Over a 15 day period attendees at the Bunbury Regional Hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) department were invited to fill in a de-identified survey enquiring about methamphetamine and alcohol use. 41 percent of all attendees responded. 1.7 percent of respondents identified as methamphetamine affected, 4.8 percent as users of the drug.
This compares with 9.1 per cent of the same group who were alcohol affected, and 49 percent who were alcohol users. In the subset of male attendees aged 18-24, 20 percent reported as methamphetamine users. Analysis demonstrated that methamphetamine use was far more likely than alcohol to result in an attendance to A&E.
This is the first study in the southwest of WA that directly enquires about methamphetamine use. The figures above are further evidence of the scale of the problem associated with this recreational drug and offer more direct evidence, as opposed to indirect measures such as sewerage water testing, to inform stakeholders involved in the management of this serious public health issue.
This study has now been published in Medical Forum magazine. There is a chance that the study will be extended to encompass greater numbers and duration, pending ethics approval from the WA Country Health Service.
Dr Hugh Mitenko
Dr Stephen Hartwig