Factors Impacting on the Evolution and Characteristics of UK Deaths Involving‘Traditional’ and ‘New’ Stimulants.
Introduction: This presentation outlines recent changes in UK drug indicators in respect of ‘traditional’ stimulants (amphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy) and how these may have influenced the ever-quickening emergence of ‘new’ stimulants (including cathinones, GHB/GBL, ketamine, piperazines) and its impact on drug-related death epidemiology. Methods: Trends in and associations between the following drug indicators are explored for the period 2005 – 2011: prevalence, availability (including seizures), price, purity, offending, treatment demand, hospital episodes, and deaths. Characteristics of deaths reported to the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths associated with ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ stimulants are examined to establish what similarities and differences exist. Results: Associations between drug indicators will be reported in terms of correlation co-efficients. Characteristics of victims are examined in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, history of drug use, employment, living arrangements. Characteristics of deaths are examined with respect to place of death, number and combinations of post-mortem drugs, role of substances in death; manner and cause(s). Conclusion: The findings are related to the existing knowledge based on ‘traditional’ stimulants. It is known that there are some similarities with the newer substances, but important differences are anticipated. These facts need to be taken into account by health professionals when faced with acute/chronic presentations in hospitals, and for those engaged in planning prevention and treatment services. Further research is needed on the most recent substances to emerge.