Health and social harms associated with crystal methamphetamine use among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting
Background and Objectives
Despite recent increases in crystal methamphetamine use among high-risk populations such as street-involved youth, few prospective studies have examined the health and social outcomes associated with active crystal methamphetamine use.
We enrolled 1,019 street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada, in a prospective cohort known as the at-risk youth study (ARYS). Participants were assessed semi-annually and a generalized estimating equation (GEE) logistic regression was used to identify factors independently associated with active crystal methamphetamine use.
Among 1,019 participants recruited into ARYS between 2005 and 2012 the median follow up duration was 17 months, 320 (31.4%) participants were female and 454 (44.6%) had previously used crystal methamphetamine at baseline. In adjusted GEE analyses, active crystal methamphetamine use was independently associated with Caucasian ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.37; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04–1.81), homelessness (AOR = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.15–1.56), injection drug use (AOR = 3.40; 95% CI: 2.76–4.19), non-fatal overdose (AOR = 1.46; 95%CI: 1.07–2.00), being a victim of violence (AOR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.02–1.38), involvement in sex work (AOR = 1.39; 95% CI: 1.03–1.86), and drug dealing (AOR = 1.60; 95% CI: 1.35–1.90).
Discussion and Conclusions
Prevalence of crystal methamphetamine use was high in this setting and active use was independently associated with a range of serious health and social harms.
Evidence-based strategies to prevent and treat crystal methamphetamine use are urgently needed. (Am J Addict 2014;23:393–398)