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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sharp Rise In Street Drug Usage Among Stroke Patients

It may be hard to associate street drug use among stoke patients, but, as the age of stroke victims continues to decrease it is a fact that more stroke patients than ever are coming up positive for drug use. Smoking and alcohol use by stroke patients over a 13-year study period remained about the same, however, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC), the use of street drugs among stroke patients rose more than nine-fold. "We know that stroke incidence in younger age groups has increased over time in our region," says De los Rios, referring to UC research presented at last year's International Stroke Conference. "With street drug use more prevalent at younger ages, this could help explain that phenomenon."

As people have started using drugs at a younger age the body's development becomes disrupted, unhealthy patterns over a long period time while in one's younger years seems to account for stoke age brackets getting lower and lower. Researchers used three one-year periods to gather their data, July 1993 to June 1994, 1999 and 2005.

Alcohol and smoking did not fluctuate much:
  • Smoking (rising from 21 percent to 24 percent)
  • Heavy alcohol use (dropping from 6 percent to 5 percent)
Street drug use skyrocketed:
  • 0.5 percent in 1993-94
  • 1.5 percent in 1999
  • 4.6 percent in 2005
"The number of stroke subjects with street drug use is not trivial," says de los Rios, stating the heaviest usage, (21 percent), among stroke patients in 2005 was in the under-35 age group. The research above, is part of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Study at the UC College of Medicine which began in 1993 and was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and identifies all hospitalized and autopsied cases of stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in a five-county region. The NIH also funded the study led by De los Rios.

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