Heavy stimulant use remains a significant health concern for Australia

Rebecca McKetin and Dan I Lubman
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11197
Published online: 21 November 2011

Stimulants increase the risks of psychosis and stroke

Stimulant use disorders (rather than recreational use) account for most of the harms associated with illicit stimulant use, and are more likely to occur with frequent use and more efficient routes of administration (ie, injection and smoking rather than oral or intranasal use).1 A driving factor behind many of the problems associated with stimulant use in Australia is the long-standing history of methamphetamine injection.2 The majority of dependent methamphetamine users in Australia inject the drug and have been using for a decade or longer.1

  • 1 Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.
  • 2 Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Eastern Health and Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. McKetin R, Kelly E, McLaren J. The relationship between crystalline methamphetamine use and methamphetamine dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend 2006; 85: 198-204.
  • 2. Hall W, Hando J. Illicit amphetamine use as a public health problem in Australia. Med J Aust 1993; 159: 643-644.
  • 3. Sara GE, Burgess PM, Harris MG, et al. Stimulant use and stimulant disorders in Australia: findings from the National Survey of Mental Health And Wellbeing. Med J Aust 2011; 195: 607-610. <MJA full text>
  • 4. Reavley NJ, Cvetkovski S, Jorm AF, Lubman DI. Helpseeking for substance use, anxiety and affective disorders among young people: results from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2010; 44: 729-735.
  • 5. Curran C, Byrappa N, McBride A. Stimulant psychosis: systematic review. Br J Psychiatry 2004; 185: 196-204.
  • 6. Colfax G, Santos G-M, Chu P, et al. Amphetamine-group substances and HIV. Lancet 2010; 376: 458-474.
  • 7. Petitti DB, Sidney S, Quesenberry C, Bernstein A. Stroke and cocaine or amphetamine use. Epidemiology 1998; 9: 596-600.
  • 8. Phillips MCL, Leyden JM, Chong WK, et al. Ischaemic stroke among young people aged 15 to 50 years in Adelaide, South Australia. Med J Aust 2011; 195: 610-614.
  • 9. McKetin R, Lubman DI, Lee N, et al. Major depression among methamphetamine users entering drug treatment programs. Med J Aust 2011; 195 (3 Suppl): S51-S55.
  • 10. NSW Health. Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office. Program information: stimulant treatment clinics. (accessed Oct 2011).


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.