American Heart Association News 

The vast majority of strokes occur in people over 65, but the number of younger adults having strokes is rising. New research suggests growth in illegal drug use could be playing a role.

Past research has shown higher cardiovascular death rates for young adults who used cocaine or marijuana. But the new study, presented this week at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Honolulu, investigates trends in illegal drug use among 18- to 54-year-olds who had a stroke.

Researchers looked at 20 years of drug tests and self-reported data involving more than 2,200 young adults who had a stroke in greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. While alcohol and cigarette use in the stroke victims remained stable over the two-decade study period, drug use rose dramatically, from 4.4 percent in 1993-1994 to 30.3 percent in 2015.

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