Entries in Amphetamine (3)


200 Million People Use Illicit Drugs, Study Finds

Doug Menuez/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Roughly 200 million people worldwide use illicit drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and opioids each year, according to a new study. The figure represents about one in 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64.

Using a review of published studies, Australian researchers estimated that as many as 203 million people use marijuana, 56 million people use amphetamines including meth, 21 million people use cocaine and 21 million people use opioids like heroin. The use of all four drug classes was highest in developed countries.

“Intelligent policy responses to drug problems need better data for the prevalence of different types of illicit drug use and the harms that their use causes globally,” reads the report, published Friday in The Lancet. “This need is especially urgent in high-income countries with substantial rates of illicit drug use and in low-income and middle-income countries close to illicit drug production areas.”

The 200 million number does not include people who use ecstasy, hallucinogenic drugs, inhalants, benzodiazepines or anabolic steroids -- just one reason it’s likely a vast underestimate of illicit drug use, according to lead author Louisa Degenhardt of the Sydney-based National Drug and Alcohol Research Center.

“Drug use is often hidden, particularly when people fear the consequences of being discovered for using drugs, such as being imprisoned,” Degenhardt said in a press conference.

Up to 39 million people are considered “problematic” or dependent drug users and up to 21 million people inject drugs, according to the report.

“It’s likely that injectable drug users have increased,” said Degenhardt, adding that the practice, “is a major direct cause of HIV, hepatitis C and to some extent hepatitis B transmission globally.”  Cocaine, amphetamine and heroin can be injected either alone or in combination.

Illicit drugs can have dangerous health effects, including overdosing, accidental injury caused by intoxication, dependence and long-term organ damage. While they may not cause immediate death, they’re thought to shave 13 million years off the life spans of users worldwide, according to the report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Links Meth Use to Parkinson's Disease

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- People who take methamphetamine or other stimulants put themselves at far greater risk of contracting Parkinson's disease, according to a new study.

Researchers at Toronto's Center for Addiction and Mental Health said they looked over 300,000 hospital records from patients in California and learned that those hospitalized for use of meth or other amphetamines were 76 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's -- an incurable condition that causes uncontrolled tremors among other symptoms.

Dr. Russell Callaghan, who led the study, says the linkage of Parkinson's disease to meth use has been suspected for three decades but this appears to be the first conclusive proof of cause and effect.

Overdoses of methamphetamine and other stimulants in its category can result in cardiac arrest and death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Amphetamine Use May Increase Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Amphetamine-based medications prescribed to increase wakefulness and focus in people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may put users at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

The study’s authors, who presented their findings at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology on Sunday, analyzed data from more than 66,000 people who reported using amphetamine-based medications between 1964 and 1973. After an average 39 years of followup, the authors found that those who had reported taking medications Benzedrine or Dexedrine were 56 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who didn’t take the drugs.

A significant flaw, however, in the design of the study – conducted by Kaiser Permanente Northern California – makes its conclusion questionable. Because data was self-reported, people may not have provided accurate responses. More importantly, critics of the study say, is that the information was gathered at a single time, leaving the authors unaware of other risk factors that could, over a 40-year period, have modified the patients’ risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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