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By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
WASHINGTON – Crystal meth is having a negative impact on the budgets of county-run hospitals. That was the conclusion of a report released Jan. 16 by the National Association of Counties.
Eighty percent of responding hospital emergency rooms in the Upper Midwest reported that up to ten percent of their patients came to the ER due to crystal meth. Of responding hospitals in counties with a population between 50,000 and 100,000, 94 percent reported increases in the numbers of crystal meth cases in the last five years.
Three Michigan hospitals serving small counties responded to the NACO survey. Two of the three reported that their costs had increased because of crystal meth-related ER visits.
Crystal meth users are often uninsured. Eighty-three percent of the responding hospitals reported that during the past three years patients who came in because of complications related to crystal meth were uninsured.
“This is still an emerging issue in Michigan, and I suspect that we are not even capable of gleaning all of the information we need to understand the true size and nature of the problem,” said Craig Covey, executive director of the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project. “I do know that substance abuse treatment is inadequate all the way around. If the meth problem gets worse in Michigan we are going to need to have a plan for treatment.”
Figures weren’t available for the percentage of LGBT individuals who are coming into ER rooms due to complications arising from crystal meth.
Crystal Meth support group available