Street drug use among young patients with Type 1 diabetes in the UK

Diabet Med. 2004 Mar;21(3):295-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2003.01092.x.


Background: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and poor glycaemic control in young adults with Type 1 diabetes may be associated with street drug use. There are few studies in the UK looking at the prevalence of drug use in young adults with diabetes.

Methods: One hundred and fifty-eight young adults, aged sixteen to thirty years, with Type 1 diabetes attending an urban diabetes clinic were sent an anonymous confidential postal questionnaire to determine the prevalence of street drug use.

Results: We received 85 completed responses. Twenty-nine percent of respondents admitted to using street drugs. Of those, 68 percent habitually took street drugs more than once a month. Seventy-two percent of users were unaware of the adverse effects on diabetes.

Interpretation: Self-reported street drug usage in young adults with Type 1 diabetes is common and may contribute to poor glycaemic control and serious complications of diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabis / adverse effects
  • Cocaine / adverse effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / complications
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / epidemiology
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects
  • Heroin / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs* / adverse effects
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Narcotics / adverse effects
  • Prevalence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Hallucinogens
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine