Rates and features of methamphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments: an integrative literature review Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:To review the clinical impact methamphetamine has on emergency departments by assessing the available research on the rates and features of methamphetamine-related presentations. BACKGROUND:Globally, methamphetamine availability, distribution and use have rapidly increased. As a result, the number of methamphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments has also increased. In this context, it is timely to review the rate and features of methamphetamine-related presentations to understand the impact of methamphetamine on emergency departments and facilitate the allocation of services, staff and resources. DESIGN:An integrative literature review. METHODS:This study presents an integrated literature review, following the systematic review process as outlined in the PRISMA flow chart. Several databases were searched using a combination of search terms. Articles were measured against inclusion and exclusion criteria, and the final ten articles were subjected to quality appraisal and outcomes reported. RESULTS:Methamphetamine accounted for 2.3% or less of all emergency departments presentations. The majority of methamphetamine users presenting to emergency departments were males, with a mean age 31-37. Methamphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments were more likely to present with trauma, psychosis, and be placed on 24-hr psychiatric hold. Methamphetamine-related presentations were more likely to present with agitation, aggression and homicidal behaviour and present to emergency departments out of hours and accompanied by police compared with other emergency departments substance-related presentations. CONCLUSIONS:Several important themes were highlighted in this review that has an impact on emergency departments services, resources and staff. Understanding the rate and patterns of methamphetamine-related presentations can help to provide evidence for policy development and staff education in emergency departments. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:Methamphetamine-related presenters are more aggressive and agitated and more likely to be brought in by police. There is a need for policy development and staff training around these issues and further research in this area using stronger study designs.

publication date

  • 2018