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New method identifies meth hot spots
Date:9/15/2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. A researcher at Oregon State University has used a new method of combining multiple sources of data to identify counties in Oregon with high numbers of methamphetamine-related problems per capita, giving officials a new tool in fighting the illegal drug.

The study, presented today at a toxicology conference in Canada, examined statistics from four sources then identified five counties with the most meth-linked incidents per capita, such as deaths, poisonings and places where meth is made.

"This method of combining different types of data like health statistics and the location of illicit labs to assess Oregon's methamphetamine problem is a new approach toward studying a significant public health concern," said OSU associate professor Dr. Daniel Sudakin, the study's author. "There are a lot of people analyzing the issue of methamphetamine, but they do it from different angles. For example, some focus on health problems, others focus on hazardous chemical releases from meth labs.

"This OSU study incorporates information about when and where these incidents occurred, giving us a bigger picture of what's going on across the state," Sudakin added. "It also includes rural areas, which tend not to be studied as much as urban areas in terms of meth use and production."

Sudakin, a medical toxicologist and epidemiologist, said his study and method of analyzing multiple sources of data could help public health and policy officials to more effectively allocate funds and other resources for substance abuse treatment and prevention to areas of the state that need them most.

The study gathered countywide data on 2,570 meth-related incidents documented by the Oregon Poison Control Center, the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association, the Oregon State Police's Medical Examiner Division and the Oregon Public Health Division's Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance System. The statistics ran from 1998-2
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Contact: Dr. Daniel Sudakin
sudakind@ace.orst.edu
541-737-2940
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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