Meth the leading cause of non-natural death in 2023

The vast majority of people whose deaths were completely avoidable in 2023 died because of their meth use. In 2023, thirty two people died by accidental drug overdose. A total of 37 people died because meth caused or likely caused or contributed to their death.

These numbers are according to the 2023 Annual Report by the Guam Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Dr. Jeffrey Nine is the CME.

“Methamphetamine was detected in 1 in 17 deaths investigated and 1 in 6 cases examined by the OCME in 2023,” the report states. “Some were vehicle crash, suicide or homicide. The majority were deaths due to methamphetamine abuse.”

According to his report, in 2023 his office received reports of 842 people who died in Guam. He examined 750 of them, and ruled that the manner in which 596 of them died was by natural causes (cardiac, infection, lung disease, stroke, kidney disease, etc.). Of the 137 non-natural deaths in 2023 (accident, suicide, homicide, and undetermined causes), 41 persons died by drug overdose, or drugs were a contributing factor to their deaths, making it the leading cause of non-natural death by far.

Of the forty one deaths involving drug use, 37 were methamphetamine detected.

According to the report, in 2023 there were 89 people whose deaths were by accident. Of them, 32 died by an accidental drug overdose, making it the leading cause of accidental death in Guam that year. Car crash victims came in a far second, at 21 deaths. More than half – 25 – of the drug overdoses occurred in people between the ages of 40 and 59.

In 2023 there were 30 motor vehicle accidents and 60 percent of the people who died in them (18) had drugs or alcohol in their system.

Of the 32 people who killed themselves, 10 of them had meth in their system.

Two of the seven homicide victims had meth in their system.

According to the data, more than 75 percent of drug-related deaths in 2023 were male.

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