Amphetamine death rates among Nevada residents lead the nation, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study states death rates in Nevada from “psychostimulants” — a category which includes methamphetamine, ecstasy and ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin — hit 7.5 per 100,000 in 2016, up 32 percent from the previous year.
The national average for psychostimulant deaths hit 2.4 per 100,000, a 33 percent increase from 2015. Nevada had the highest death rate, followed by New Mexico and Oklahoma, each with 7.1 psychostimulant deaths per 100,000.
The CDC report included data from 31 states and Washington D.C.
“From 2015 to 2016, deaths increased across all drug categories examined,” the study said. “The largest overall rate increases occurred among deaths involving cocaine (52.4%) and synthetic opioids (100%), likely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl.”
While opioid deaths rose nationally, they decreased in Nevada from 9.8 per 100,000 to 8.9 per 100,000, according to the CDC report.
The study showed college-aged students — age 15 to 24 — had the second-lowest death rate from psychostimulants nationally at 1.3 per 100,000.
Most psychostimulant deaths occur among adults age 35 to 54.
Psychostimulant users usually won’t overdose from amphetamines alone, but the drugs can cause heart attacks among users with existing heart conditions, Dr. Jonathan Floriani, a UNLV psychiatry assistant professor, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A psychostimulant increases activity in the central nervous system and is prescribed for patients with issues like attention deficit disorders or obesity and bought illegally on the street in the form of methamphetamine or ecstacy.
For college students, psychostimulants are used most often with “study drugs” like Adderall.
Adderall on Campus
Adderall — a brand name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine — is commonly prescribed to adolescents or young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, today it has become popular among college students and taken to help with studying or as a “weight-loss drug.”
A 2016 study from Johns Hopkins University found that, over a five-year period, while prescriptions for Adderall remained the same, usage increased.
“Adderall misuse is highest among 18 to 25-year-olds, who are primarily getting the medication from friends or family members and without a doctor’s recommendation or prescription,” according to Johns Hopkins’ Hub.
The study from Johns Hopkins also found that from 2006 to 2011, non-prescribed use of Adderall by college-aged students rose 67 percent and emergency room visits associated with Adderall rose by 156 percent.
The Michigan Daily recently surveyed 1,300 students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor about Adderall use and found that 24 percent of those surveyed use Adderall, while only nine percent had a prescription.
Long-term side effects of Adderall use are unknown, but short-term side effects can include sleep disruption, mental health problems and cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and stroke.
Ryan Suppe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @salsuppe.