Responding to global stimulant use: challenges and opportunities

Michael Farrell, Natasha K. Martin, Emily Stockings, Annick Bórquez, Javier A. Cepeda, Louisa Degenhardt, Robert Ali, Lucy Thi Tran, Jürgen Rehm, Marta Torrens, Steve Shoptaw, Rebecca McKetin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 Elsevier Ltd We did a global review to synthesise data on the prevalence, harms, and interventions for stimulant use, focusing specifically on the use of cocaine and amphetamines. Modelling estimated the effect of cocaine and amphetamine use on mortality, suicidality, and blood borne virus incidence. The estimated global prevalence of cocaine use was 0·4% and amphetamine use was 0·7%, with dependence affecting 16% of people who used cocaine and 11% of those who used amphetamine. Stimulant use was associated with elevated mortality, increased incidence of HIV and hepatitis C infection, poor mental health (suicidality, psychosis, depression, and violence), and increased risk of cardiovascular events. No effective pharmacotherapies are available that reduce stimulant use, and the available psychosocial interventions (except for contingency management) had a weak overall effect. Generic approaches can address mental health and blood borne virus infection risk if better tailored to mitigate the harms associated with stimulant use. Substantial and sustained investment is needed to develop more effective interventions to reduce stimulant use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1652-1667
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10209
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019


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