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October 9, 2001

Behavior

Question from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia:

My best friend, who is 24 years old and has diabetes, recently approached me about trying various designer drugs such as Exstacy, LSD, and Speed. Although I am very much anti-drugs, and I told him that it was not a good idea for him to experiment with them, I feel that he will. I would like to be able to go to him with actual information on what the added risks to this experimentation would be for him, but am finding it difficult to find any information on the Internet! Can you assist, or point me in the right direction?

Answer:

I have to say that this has become a frequent question. I am concerned the use of these drugs among people with diabetes is higher than I would have thought, especially with additional health risks and risks of drug interactions. The most important point to make is that when any of these drugs are used, there is a loss of control. You have the problem of being unable to know whether your sugar is crashing or the drugs are causing problems. If the sugar is out of control, the result could put you in real trouble. This may result in a severe low blood sugar or put a person into DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis].

If the patients using the drugs are already experiencing complications from diabetes (retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, or even heart disease), the use of these drugs could make them more susceptible to severe reactions or side effects.

Finally, the use of illegal drugs carries criminal penalties, risk of contamination, and permanent disability. I don’t know why your friend would want to willingly do this to himself. It is good you support him. If you have any impact on his behavior, please try to dissuade him from using the drugs!

JTL

[Editor’s comment: See a previous question on this topic.

SS]