Autopsy investigations, toxicological analyses, and calculation of body mass index were performed in 1180 deceased illicit drug addicts (IDAs) in Stockholm, Sweden during 1988–2000, i.e., during a period of time when the general population in numerous countries showed a dramatic increase in the prevalence of overweight. Nutritional deficit in IDAs has been pointed out as a threat to their health as well as to their quality of life.
The prevalence of overweight in deceased IDAs increased from 27.4% in 1988 to 45.5% in 2000. The prevalence of overweight among all heroin users, heroin injectors, methadone, cocaine, and amphetamine users was 36.0, 38.4, 43.1, 45.0 and 50.9%, respectively, the lowest prevalence being among users of cannabis alone and HIV-positive IDAs (22.0 and 16.1%, respectively).
In conclusion, Stockholm's IDAs are affected by the past decade's dramatically increased prevalence of overweight, at least to the same degree as the general population. The increased body weight seems not to influence the danger of dying upon heroin administration.
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