Major physical and psychological harms of methamphetamine use

Authors

  • Professor SHANE DARKE,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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      Shane Darke, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  • SHARLENE KAYE,

    1. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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      Sharlene Kaye, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  • REBECCA McKETIN,

    1. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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      Rebecca McKetin, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  • JOHAN DUFLOU

    1. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Department of Forensic Medicine, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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      Johan Duflou, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales and Department of Forensic Medicine, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia. Tel: 029 385 0331. Fax: 029 385 0222. E-mail: s.darke@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

Issues. The major physical and psychological health effects of methamphetamine use, and the factors associated with such harms. Approach. Comprehensive review. Key Findings. Physical harms reviewed included toxicity and mortality, cardiovascular/cerebrovascular pathology, dependence and blood-borne virus transmission. Psychological harms include methamphetamine psychosis, depression, suicide, anxiety and violent behaviours. Implications. While high-profile health consequences, such as psychosis, are given prominence in the public debate, the negative sequelae extend far beyond this. This is a drug class that causes serious heart disease, has serious dependence liability and high rates of suicidal behaviours. Conclusion. The current public image of methamphetamine does not portray adequately the extensive, and in many cases insidious, harms caused.

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