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Fatality Rates Among Young Drug Users A Cause For Concern

28 January 2010 Hertfordshire, University of

A paper by a University of Hertfordshire academic due to be published tomorrow (29 January 2010), reports that excess ecstasy-related death rates in young users is a cause for concern.

Professor Fabrizio Schifano at the University’s School of Pharmacy, is lead author for a paper entitled Overview of Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Mortality Data – UK, 1997 – 2007, which will be published in Neuropsychobiology online tomorrow.

Professor Schifano and his colleagues at St George’s, University of London’s International Centre for Drug Policy, which runs the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD), reviewed stimulant-related deaths from the np-SAD database and from the British Crime Survey 2001-2007 results and found that identified 832 amphetamine and methylamphetamine-related deaths and 605 ecstasy-related deaths.

What was of more concern to Professor Fabrizio and the researchers was the fact that the fatalities from ecstasy during that period were typically identified in victims who were young and healthy.

The report, which covered an 11-year, UK-wide analysis of mortality from these drugs, noted that deaths seemed to have dropped in 2000 to peak once again over the following years and then after a drop again in 2003, it increased again over the following years.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Schifano said: “These data seem to support the hypothesis that young individuals seem to suffer extreme consequences after excessive intake of ecstasy. This is an issue of public health concern which deserves further studies.”

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