The role of psychostimulants in fatal stroke among young people

October 2017

Professor Shane Darke
Dr Julia Lappin

Other Collaborators:
Professor Johan Duflou, University of Sydney
Dr Sharlene Kaye, NSW Health

Project description: 

Project summary: This study will examine all cases of fatal stroke in Australia amongst young people (<45 years) over the period 2009-2016, to determine the role of psychostimulants in these events.

Rationale: Stroke can be a catastrophic consequence of methamphetamine use. Recent work on methamphetamine-related death documented 38 cases of methamphetamine-related stroke, 2.3% of all methamphetamine-related deaths. The role of methamphetamine, and other psychostimulants such as cocaine, in the overall causation of fatal stroke in Australia amongst young people (<45 years) is unknown.   

1. Determine the proportion of cases of fatal stroke amongst people aged <45 years in which psychostimulants were present in the blood, 2009-2016; 
2. Determine trends over the study period in the contribution of psychostimulant-related stroke to overall stroke amongst young people; 
3. Determine the relative role of psychostimulants in overall ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke amongst young people in Australia; 
4. Determine the sites in the brain of strokes amongst cases of fatal psychostimulant-related stroke and other cases of stroke amongst young people.  

Design and method: Examination of all cases of fatal stroke amongst young people in Australia recorded in the National Coronial Information System.

Benefits: The project will provide the first national data in the world on the contribution of psychostimulants to fatal stroke amongst young people.

For full details please visit the NDARC website.