Patterns and features of methamphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments in QLD from 2005 to 2017 Academic Article uri icon


  • This study explores the patterns and features of methamphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments (EDs) in Queensland. Despite an overall decrease in the use of methamphetamine in Australian, an increase in the use of the crystalized form of methamphetamine has been noted over recent years. A descriptive observational study was utilized to analyse emergency department (ED) injury surveillance data sourced from Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (QISU) from 2005 to 2017. Data were analysed for presentations related to stimulants (n = 564) with methamphetamine (n = 250) included as a subcategory. Descriptive statistics were used to identify patterns and features of presentations related to methamphetamines. The relationship between demographic variables, service type variables, and drug type was assessed using chi-square and z-tests. Results included the following: 84.4% of methamphetamine-related presentations were allocated a triage score of 1, 2, or 3; 14.8% of all methamphetamine-related presentations required police involvement; 18% were brought in by ambulance; and 15.6% exhibited behaviour that was either, agitated, aggressive, or violent in nature. Methamphetamine-related presentations more frequently required police or ambulance services and more often included aggression or agitation. Methamphetamine-related presentations to ED have a high acuity and often require other emergency resources (police and ambulance). There is a need to develop policy for managing aggressive and agitated people presenting to EDs as a result of methamphetamine use and to further explore the experience of personnel (police and ambulance) managing persons under the influence of methamphetamine.

publication date

  • 2019