Stimulant Use

Girl holding head

As one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the United States, stimulants are playing a growing role in the overdose crisis. Stimulants are used for a variety of reasons, including:

  • euphoria and pleasure
  • coping
  • performance enhancement and increased productivity
  • alertness
  • social acceptance/pressure
  • weight loss, and others

Some of the known health risks include:

  • mental health problems, such as psychosis and anxiety
  • sleep deprivation
  • cardiovascular system issues
  • sexually transmitted
  • blood-borne infections.

These harms can also be exacerbated by various structural and environmental risk factors, such as criminalization, housing instability and food insecurity, limited access to healthcare, poverty, and stigma.

As stimulant-related deaths become a growing concern, policymakers are looking to explore best ways to address the social determinants of health that encourage stimulant-related harms, increase access to services (including harm reduction), and reduce contact with the marginalized people who use stimulants and law enforcement. Suggestions include:

  • decriminalizing drug paraphernalia
  • authorizing harm reduction centers for inclusive supervised consumption
  • providing more funding for outreach
  • increasing access to contingency management interventions
  • funding more stimulant-specific research
  • creating targeted education and de-stigmatization trainings

Learn more about this problem and check out helpful resources here:

Drug Policy Alliance: Policy Proposals to Address the Fourth Wazve of the Overdose Crisis

NoMoDeaths: Stimulant Use Disorder