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Cocaine & Methamphetamine: The Quiet Epidemic
It is clear that we are in the midst of an opioid misuse, dependence, and overdose epidemic. This opioid epidemic started with prescription pain medications and has developed to include the use of illicit heroin, adulterants, and fentanyls. At the same time, quietly, cocaine cultivation, international shipment of cocaine, and first use of cocaine have been increasing. Cocaine is now the number two cause of drug overdose death. Many of the cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses also include opioids. Cocaine and methamphetamine are powerful stimulant drugs. They are self-administered, cause loss of control, and are continuing to be used despite devastating medical, neurological, and addiction consequences. While MATs, from naloxone-Narcan, to methadone and buprenorphine, to naltrexone, exist for opioid use disorders, no such treatment exists for cocaine/methamphetamine overdose, or the addictions and psychiatric symptoms they cause.
At the end of this session, participants will be able to describe how cocaine, once considered a non-addicting champagne of drugs, became clearly understood to be addicting. They will also be able to describe historic and current methamphetamine use, abuse, dependence, and consequences, and compare medically-assisted treatments for opioid use disorders to cocaine-methamphetamine.