Methamphetamine use, health and criminal justice system outcomes: a systematic review

Craig Cumming, Stuart A. Kinner, Rebecca McKetin, Ian Li, David Preen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
205 Downloads (Pure)


Issues. Methamphetamine use is a problem for health and criminal justice systems (CJS) worldwide. Methamphetamine is used at higher rates in CJS-involved populations than the general community. This systematic review synthesises the evidence for health and CJS outcomes post-CJS contact for people reporting pre-CJS methamphetamine use.
Approach. Academic databases were searched to identify peer-reviewed original studies using a longitudinal design that investigated associations between pre-CJS methamphetamine use and health and criminal justice outcomes after CJS contact. Identified studies were screened in two stages; title and abstract, then full-text. Data from the included studies were extracted and analysed. Results are reported in line with the PRISMA statement.
Key Findings. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria; five investigated health and four investigated CJS outcomes. Pre-CJS methamphetamine use was associated with subsequent hospitalisation for drug-induced psychosis, increased risk of recidivism and higher crime costs after CJS contact. Pre-CJS methamphetamine use was not associated with subsequent hospitalisation for non-drug induced psychosis or post-release mortality.
Implications. Current evidence suggests that pre-CJS contact methamphetamine use increases the risk of subsequent drug-induced psychosis and recidivism. There is a need for more longitudinal research that measures mediators and moderators of health and criminal justice outcomes after CJS contact, to inform targeted prevention.
Conclusion. Methamphetamine use is a major problem that is contributing to serious mental illness and recidivism among CJS-involved populations. Prioritising treatment during CJS contact is recommended. Further research to identify key opportunities during health service and CJS contact for intervention is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-518
Number of pages14
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number5
Early online date24 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Methamphetamine use, health and criminal justice system outcomes: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this