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Amphetamine, Cocaine Use Increase Risk of Stroke in Young Adults

atient study data from 2003, the first year that U.S. hospitals were required to make a distinction between the two types of strokes in their diagnoses of stroke victims, showed that young people who abuse amphetamines are five times more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke than non-abusers. If cocaine is abused, the person’s likelihood of having either a hemorrhagic or an ischemic stroke more than doubles.

In addition, the 2003 data showed that more than 14 percent of hemorrhagic strokes and 14 percent of ischemic strokes were caused by abuse of drugs, including amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis (marijuana) and tobacco.

“Basically, speed kills,” said Dr. Robert Haley, the study’s senior author and chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern. “And meth seems to be increasing as the preferred drug of abuse among the youngest population – people who don’t always know its dangers, often thinking it’s fairly safe.

“This is the first study large enough to confirm the link that meth kills by causing strokes. We hope that our findings will lead to getting the word out to young people who are tempted to use meth, explaining that the drug is extremely dangerous and can kill them.”

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