Meth problem strains hospital resources

A new study has found that 73 percent of hospitals and clinics polled have seen an increase in methamphetamine-related emergency room visits over the last five years. Nearly 60 percent say their costs have risen as a direct result. The research, which was conducted by the American Association of Counties, supports a similar poll of sheriffs across the country last summer which rated meth use as the most pressing problem facing law enforcement. A companion poll notes that 70 percent of hospitals say demand for treatment programs has risen as well. However, in the wake of last year's studies, several observers noted that there seems to be little evidence that the nation's overall rate of meth use is, in fact, increasing.

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