2Bakirkoy Prof. Mazhar Osman Training and Research Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, Acute Inpatient Unit, Istanbul, Turkey
Objective: Our research aimed to determine the frequency of methamphetamine use among people referred to health institutions for treatment with the probation decision and to reveal the sociodemographic and clinical profile of people who use methamphetamine.
Method: Four hundred and forty-two consecutive cases between 18 and 65 years of age who were referred for treatment to the Probation Outpatient Clinic in Bakirkoy Prof. Mazhar Osman Training and Research Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery were included in the study. Sociodemographic and clinical information of the cases, substance use and treatment histories, and criminal histories were recorded and evaluated with a semi-structured form. Urine toxicology results, which were taken as one of the obligations of the probation treatment program, were examined.
Results: Substance metabolites were detected in the urine toxicological analysis of 81% of the cases. Methamphetamine use was detected in 24.4% of the sample. It was the second most common illicit substance after cannabis and the fourth common seized. Inhalation was the most common method of methamphetamine use. Of the cases still using methamphetamine, 90.7% (n=98) were found to use at least one substance other than methamphetamine. Emergency admissions for substance-related problems, inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient psychiatric treatment, and forensic histories were significantly higher in the group with methamphetamine use than in the group without methamphetamine use.
Conclusion: Our study is the first to evaluate the rate of methamphetamine use in the probation population and the sociodemographic and clinical profile of people with methamphetamine use. According to the data obtained, one-fourth of the probation population was using methamphetamine. This group represented a more criminally engaged subgroup of substance users with more inpatient addiction treatment and outpatient psychiatric treatment needs with a high rate of polysubstance use. Recognizing the profile of methamphetamine users is essential to develop strategies to meet their treatment needs. In addition, a probation program might provide an opportunity to raise awareness of substance-related medical and social problems and to motivate individuals who are relatively less engaged with treatment to initiate a therapeutic process.