The West

Strong mental disorder link to speed use Amphetamine
Strong mental disorder link to speed use Amphetamine

West Australian amphetamine users who wind up in hospital emergency departments are most commonly diagnosed with mental disorders, a lengthy study by Perth universities has found.

A nine-year study by University of Western Australia and Curtin University of Technology found amphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments were "associated with a significant cluster of hospitalisations around that episode, most prominently for psychiatric diagnoses".

UWA's Professor Daniel Fatovich, who led the research, said mental health problems such as psychosis or depression were "by far and away" the main diagnoses for speed users requiring emergency medical treatment.

Other common diagnoses were injury and poisoning.

The study examined records of 138 West Australian patients who had 156 amphetamine-related presentations to emergency departments.

The average age was 28 years, 71 per cent were male, and more than half used amphetamines at least weekly.

Thirty-nine per cent required admission to hospital.

Prof Fatovich said a growing number of deaths had been associated with amphetamine use.

Four people, or 2.9 per cent of amphetamine users in the study, died within two years of the emergency department visit.

Amphetamine use in Australia spiked in the period from 2000 to 2005 amid a "heroin drought" - when there were 371 fatalities attributed to the drug - and there was evidence it was again on the rise, Prof Fatovich said.

"In the past three to six months, there seems to be more around," he told AAP.

The good news about amphetamine users' frequent contact with the health system was that there were many opportunities to provide advice or counselling on reducing or ceasing drug use, Prof Fatovich said.

Amphetamines are the most commonly used illicit drugs after cannabis and Australia has one of the world's highest rates of usage.

The drug had a devastating impact on not just the user, but also their loved ones, Prof Fatovich said.

The West Australian

Latest News From The West

The brother of shark attack victim Ben Gerring has demanded both sides of WA politics do more to protect people from sharks, saying the WA lifestyle is being lost because of the shark threat.

A Woodside Energy employee was sacked after being accused of leaking sensitive information on projects valued at billions of dollars to Chinese customers.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has deepened his attacks on a former beauty queen Alicia Machado, calling her disgusting and alleging the existence of a sex tape as he refused to back …

Perth’s spring nights have been colder than winter, with the 7.6C overnight average this month cooler than the 8.1C average low in June, July and August.

Popular videos

Change location


- °

Lifestyle Videos

Follow Us

More from The West