Opening Ceremony and Keynote Speaker - Professor Michael Farrell, Day 1, Track 1, 09:00 - 10:30

Presented as part of the Uniting the global community to face the challenge of addiction event, in-person on 12th May 2022.


  • Opening Ceremony and Keynote Speaker - Professor Michael Farrell


Keynote Speaker - Professor Michael Farrell

Responding to Global Stimulant Use: Challenges and Opportunities

Stimulant consumption continues to escalate globally with some regional differences in type of stimulant used.  This talk will summarise both the burden of use and dependence and the option for improving responses to this ongoing challenge.

The estimated global prevalence of cocaine use is 0·4% and amphetamine use is 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.

Currently there are no effective pharmacotherapies available that reduce stimulant use, and the available psychosocial interventions (except for contingency management) had a weak overall effect.

Broad psychosocial treatment 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

Given the limited overall interventions options a broad policy approach to prevention, harm reduction and treatment is required with integrated approaches across the broad health sector and recognition of the burden on individuals, families, and communities.

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