ED Visits

The western region of the US had the highest rate of emergency department (ED) visits for methamphetamine-related poisoning compared to other regions (7.8 vs. 2.1-5.8 per 100,000; CDC 2019).  

Meth ED visits in LAC

The number of meth ED visits has been increasing and remains high in LAC.

In Los Angeles County (LAC), from 2005 to 2021, there were 230,226 ED visits that listed any methamphetamine abuse, dependence, use, or poisoning as a diagnosis or external-cause-of-injury (methamphetamine-related). Methamphetamine-related ED visits increased 323% from 2005 to 2021. By 2021, the annual total for methamphetamine-related ED visits reached 22,936 cases (Figure 1).

From 2016 to 2021, the most frequently reported diagnosis for methamphetamine-related ED visits was methamphetamine abuse (69.7%), followed by methamphetamine use (19.3%), methamphetamine dependence (7.2%), and methamphetamine poisoning (5.0%) (Figure 2). 

Although overdose accounted for a relatively small proportion of all methamphetamine ED visits, this problem is becoming more apparent in the US (Hoots 2020).  

A total of 62,772 ED visits listed methamphetamine abuse, dependence, use, or poisoning as the principal diagnosis or principal external-cause-of-injury (primary). Primary methamphetamine ED visits increased 221% from 2005 to 2021. By 2021, the annual total for primary methamphetamine ED visits reached 5,817 cases (Figure 3).

Among primary methamphetamine ED visits, abuse remained the most frequently reported diagnosis type (67.4%), and was again followed by use (15.1%). However, poisoning accounted for a much larger proportion of primary methamphetamine ED visits (13.3%) than of all methamphetamine-related ED visits (Figure 4)

Demographics of Meth ED Visits


California's Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI). Nonpublic Inpatient Discharge and Emergency Department data, 2005-2020. California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes — United States Surveillance Special Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Published November 1, 2019. Accessed from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pubs/2019-cdc-drug-surveillance-report.pdf.

Hoots B, Vivolo-Kantor A, Seth P. The rise in non-fatal and fatal overdoses involving stimulants with and without opioids in the United States. Addiction. 2020;115(5):946-958. doi:10.1111/add.14878