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Contamination or excess? Stimulant overdose in regular psychostimulant users

Image: Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System logo
Author: Natasha Sindicich, Jodie Grigg, Lucy Burns

Resource Type: Drug Trends Bulletins

Key findings:
  • ƒƒPast year and lifetime experience of stimulant overdose has significantly increased since monitoring began in 2007
  • Those that had a recent stimulant overdose were more likely to report bingeing behaviour, were more likely to report having used a higher number of drug classes, were more likely to score a severity of dependence score of four and above for ecstasy and also more likely to score above eight in the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test
  • Ecstasy was the main drug attributed to stimulant overdose
  • Sixty percent of this sample reported their most recent stimulant OD to consuming too much of a substance, 14% reported that it was due to consuming a bad/adulterated pill and 15% reported that it was due to both of the aboveƒ
  • ƒFor comparison purposes participants were grouped into those who considered their overdose due to a ‘bad pill’ group versus ‘other reason for overdose’ group
  • Those who believed they consumed a bad/adulterated pill were over five times more likely to experience their overdose in a nightclub
  • The vast majority of those who had experienced stimulant overdose received no formal treatment
  • Participants who believed they overdosed on a bad pill were four times more likely to have looked on pill reports either before, after or at both times after their stimulant overdose experience
  • These findings highlight the need to continue harm reduction strategies aimed at minimising risk of stimulant overdose and raising awareness of the risks of ecstasy impurity.