Radiological manifestations of recreational drug use are not infrequently seen as the use of recreational drugs is widespread.
Interestingly, recent reports have suggested a decreasing incidence of reported drug use in the general population over the past decade, but it remains that ~36% of the United Kingdom population between 16 and 59 years of age report having taken a recreational drug at some point, 8.2% in the past 12 months 1. However the number of newly formulated recreational drugs, such as novel derivatives of cathinones, is growing, and therefore global epidemiological studies of drug use may underestimate the phenomenon.
There are many possible complications and medical conditions that may be associated with drug use 2. Few of them are specific for or highly associated with particular drugs and have radiological manifestations that may be recognized, or where drug use forms part of the differential.
Conditions include 1,2:
- white matter changes, leukoencephalopathy
- 1. United Kingdom drug situation: Annual report to the European Monitoring Centre or Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) 2013
- 2. Hagan IG, Burney K. Radiology of recreational drug abuse. Radiographics. 2007;27 (4): 919-40. doi:10.1148/rg.274065103 - Pubmed citation
- 3. González-Duarte A, Williams R. Cocaine-induced recurrent leukoencephalopathy. (2013) The neuroradiology journal. 26 (5): 511-3. doi:10.1177/197140091302600503 - Pubmed