Initiation into Methamphetamine Use: Qualitative Findings from an Exploration of First Time Use Among a Group of New Zealand Users
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Methamphetamine use has risen in many countries around the world in recent years, and New Zealand is no exception, with the substance having become well-established in the illicit drug market. While there is much published on the individual and social harms of this drug, limited data are available on methamphetamine use initiation. Understanding early patterns of behavior is important, given the potential risks involved at this stage of use. This article presents findings from a qualitative study which was undertaken with methamphetamine users, most of whom were in treatment at the time of the research. While the research primarily sought to investigate patterns of methamphetamine use and associated harms, a key issue explored was the way in which respondents came to use the drug. Findings revealed that most were experienced users of other substances when trying the drug for the first time, but lacked specific knowledge of methamphetamine. The majority were introduced to methamphetamine in a social situation by a friend or partner, who also played a key role in preparing the drug for administration. Several reported risk-taking behaviors on the first occasion of use. The findings have important implications for potential interventions and harm reduction strategies at first use.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
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