WSU Researchers Say Policy Changes Are Needed to Provide Lifesaving Stimulant Drug Intervention

Michael McDonell and Katherine Hirchak

The medical journal Health Affairs has published a Forefront article written by researchers in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the WSU College of Medicine. Michael McDonell, PhD, and Katherine Hirchak, PhD, worked with researchers across the country to examine the rate at which fentanyl-involved deaths included the co-use of stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine.

They found that although the use of cocaine and methamphetamine is a contributing factor to more than 50% of drug-related deaths, the drug death crisis is often mischaracterized as the “opioid crisis.” For this reason, federal regulatory reforms and drug funding only focus on the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Read more below about the policy barriers and the efforts by this team to bring lifesaving treatments to people suffering from stimulant use disorder.