A more than 500% increase in the number of deaths involving methamphetamine occurred between 2016 and 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As such, this report employed a validated liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method to quantify methamphetamine and its metabolites in bodily fluids from 47 postmortem cases in which methamphetamine was involved. The mean age of the deceased was 33 years old (median: 30, range: 16-63), and 94% were male. Methamphetamine was co-ingested with another drug in 32 of the cases (68%); however, the deaths were only due to the combined toxicity of methamphetamine and another drug in 15 of the cases (32%). Of note, 13 of these deaths (28% of all deaths) involved heroin. When methamphetamine was the sole cause of death (32% of the studied cases), the median concentrations of methamphetamine and amphetamine were 527 and 128 ng/mL. When methamphetamine was combined toxicity with another drug, the median concentrations of methamphetamine and amphetamine decreased to 161 and 53 ng/mL. When deaths were unrelated to methamphetamine, the median concentrations of methamphetamine and amphetamine were 130 and 44 ng/mL, respectively. The highest median methamphetamine concentration was found in urine (5281 ng/mL), followed by stomach contents (878 ng/mL), bile (762 ng/mL), vitreous humor (3 ng/mL), and blood (208 ng/mL). Almost 40% of the studied cases involved violence, 61% were accidental, 21% were suicides, 17% were homicides, and 2% were natural deaths. Methamphetamine is highly addictive. Increases in deaths have been seen in various countries. More awareness, education and treatment programs are required to reduce the likelihood of addiction, crimes, suicide, and other fatalities resulting from methamphetamine abuse.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
For latest news and updates