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Can Med Assoc J. Feb 8, 1975; 112(3): 299–304.
PMCID: PMC1956334

Death in amphetamine users: causes and rates.


The world medical literature contains 43 reports of deaths associated with amphetamines in a 35-year period. These included seven cerebrovascular accidents, six sudden cardiac deaths, three cases of hyperpyrexia, eight poisonings of uncertain mechanism and seven cases of medical complications of intravenous injection; the remainder were of uncertain cause. In contrast, in Ontario alone, in 1972 and 1973 there were 26 deaths in amphetamine users, of which 16 were due to accident suicide or homicide. Of the remaining cases, two were cardiac, two hepatic and the rest were mixed drug overdose. Pulmonary granulomata, subacute hepatitis and other lesions resulting from intravenous drug use were common findings at autopsy. On the basis of the estimated number of regular users of intravenous amphetamine in Ontario, the mortality rate in such users is at least four times as high as in the general population of the same age, and is comparable to that in alcoholics and heroin addicts. However, the absolute number of alcohol-related deaths is far greater than the number of deaths in amphetamine or heroin users.

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Selected References

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