Meth Blamed for ER Violence

Hospital emergency rooms in North Dakota are reporting an increase in violence by people who have been using drugs, particularly methamphetamine, the Associated Press reported June 21.

Officials said the trend is linked to alcohol and other drug misuse and mental illness.

“We have definitely seen an increase in violent behavior in the ER in the last year or so,” said Jodi Baumgartner, a spokeswoman for the emergency room at Innovis Health in Fargo, N.D.

MeritCare Hospital, also in Fargo, reported similar drug-related violence. Mary Jagim, a nurse who manages the emergency center, said security officers are summoned at least once for every 50 patients treated.

“The meth has really been a challenge,” Jagim said. “They’re very agitated. They don’t want anybody touching them. They can be very violent.”

In the past year, methamphetamine cases at the MeritCare Hospital emergency room have more than doubled. In addition, the emergency room is seeing more patients who have been drinking or have paranoid schizophrenia.