personIn general, people who use drugs are more at risk for developing health problems than those who do not. Just what those health problem are depend on the kind of drug that is used. Cancer is the biggest risk, no matter the drug. Hyperthermia is a risk among ecstasy users. Liver issues are problems for alcoholics. A new study, however, may show that younger drug abusers may be at higher risk for stroke.

A stroke is defined as the rupturing of a blood vessel in the brain, usually causing paralysis, embolism or thrombosis affecting the brain. Hospital patients were studied to gauge their risk of stroke based on the drugs they took. In order to gather enough results, researchers collected information recorded from over three million discharged patients from Texas hospitals between 2000 and 2003. Researchers then studied the results to include the abused drug of choice (for the sakes of this report it will be narrowed down to amphetamines and cocaine), and the rate of stroke. They found that between the four years of recorded data, the increase of stroke was greater for abusers of amphetamines (including methamphetamine) than cocaine, though cocaine showed significant stroke statistics. Of the gathered data collected, including those from human imaging and those who had died from their conditions, it has been surmised that stimulant use, such as the use of methamphetamine, effects the brain in a different way, causing different strokes than those caused by cocaine.

Initially it was difficult for the researchers to find enough support to conduct the study; however, the rate of strokes among young drug abusers tipped the scale in their favor. Because of their research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory on the drug stimulant phenylpropanolamine, requesting all companies remove the item from their products. The FDA also requested a national ban of ephedra from over-the-counter products in 2004. Their efforts were short-lived; the ban was overturned in 2005, but the Tenth Circuit US Court of Appeals reinstated the ban in 2006.

Meth Use Increases in the US

Police and news reporting of the rapid increase of methamphetamine use throughout the United States has increased the concern of health effects caused by drug use. Small town America has been hit with some of the biggest drug smuggling across the nation. Children are fleeing their “easy lives” for fun and adventure only to return home with the beginning stages of a drug problem. Rural police are ill equipped to handle the inflow of drug dealers in the outskirts of big cities.

Methamphetamine problems come with a multitude of health problems. Abusers suffer from paranoia and delusions. Many of them are seen with scars and scabs along their skin and on their faces. While under the influence, they believe that bugs are crawling under their skin and they scratch at them. Their bodies are drained of nutrients. “Meth mouth” is a key indicator of a methamphetamine abuse problem. The mouth is subject to the bacterias that the enzymes in would usually take care of. With meth in the system, though, the enzymes are not as strong, leaving the mouth exposed. The body is not meant to have such harmful chemicals exposed to it. These chemicals deprive it of much needed nutrients and it will eventually be destroyed by the habits of the user. If there is someone you know who has a meth problem, even if it’s just assumed and not verified, don’t hesitate to get them help. Meth is one of the worst drugs on the body and it is very hard to overcome. A family member recognizing and revealing that to them could be the thing that saves their lives. It could be their only hope.


Jama Network –