Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cocaine-related deaths rise in warm weather, study finds

Date:
March 3, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Researchers in the United States have discovered that accidental overdose deaths involving cocaine rise when the average weekly ambient temperature passes 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit).

In a study published online in the journal Addiction, researchers in the United States have discovered that accidental overdose deaths involving cocaine rise when the average weekly ambient temperature passes 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Using mortality data from New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for 1990 through 2006, and temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, researchers found that accidental overdose deaths that were wholly or partly attributable to cocaine use rose significantly as the weekly ambient temperature passed 24 degrees Celsius. The number of cocaine-related overdose deaths continued to rise as temperatures continued to climb.

Cocaine-related overdose deaths increase as the ambient temperature rises because cocaine increases the core body temperature, impairs the cardiovascular system's ability to cool the body, and decreases the sense of heat-related discomfort that ordinarily motivates people to avoid becoming overheated. Cocaine users who become overheated (hyperthermic) can overdose on lower amounts of cocaine because their bodies are under more stress.

The study's findings correct previous research that associated an increase in cocaine-related mortality with much higher temperatures (31.1 degrees Celsius, or 87.9 degrees Fahrenheit). Because cocaine-related overdose fatalities begin to rise at lower ambient temperatures than was previously thought, it is now apparent that cocaine users are at risk for longer periods of each year. Between 1990 and 2006, the average weekly temperature in New York City rose above 24 degrees Celsius for about seven weeks per year.

The study showed no difference in the number of drug overdoses in New York City among those weeks where the average temperature was between -10 and 24 degrees Celsius. Above 24 degrees Celsius, however, there were 0.25 more drug overdoses per 1,000,000 residents per week for every two degrees increase in weekly average temperature. Given that over 8.2 million people live in New York City, the study's findings predict that at least two more people per week will die of a drug overdose in the city for each two degree rise in temperature above 24 degrees Celsius, compared to weeks with average temperatures of 24 degrees and below.

The authors of this study point out the need for public health interventions in warm weather, such as delivering health-related warnings to high-risk groups. Prevention efforts could also include making air conditioning available in locations where cocaine use is common such as urban areas with a known high prevalence of cocaine use, and within those urban areas, particular neighbourhoods with elevated numbers of cocaine-related deaths or arrests. As lead author Dr. Amy Bohnert explains, "Cocaine users are at a high risk for a number of negative health outcomes and need public health attention, particularly when the weather is warm."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bohnert A., Prescott M., Vlahov D., Tardiff K., and Galea S. Ambient temperature and risk of death from accidental drug overdose in New York City, 1990-2006. Addiction, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02887.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Cocaine-related deaths rise in warm weather, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302201658.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, March 3). Cocaine-related deaths rise in warm weather, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302201658.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Cocaine-related deaths rise in warm weather, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302201658.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins