BACKGROUND:Persons dually diagnosed with opioid and cocaine dependence (OD + CD) present a clinical challenge and are at risk of morbidity and mortality. The time of escalation of heroin and cocaine exposure in persons with OD + CD remain understudied, and the influence of gender and other variables have not been examined. This observational study focused on the time of escalation of heroin and cocaine in volunteers with OD + CD, examining gender and exposure to other drugs (e.g., cannabis or alcohol) as predictors. Ages of first use and of onset of heaviest use of each drug were collected (in whole years). Time of escalation was defined as the interval between age of first use and onset of heaviest use. VOLUNTEERS:sequentially ascertained adult volunteers recruited from the New York Metropolitan area, of which n = 297 were diagnosed with OD + CD. METHODS:Instruments administered were the SCID-I diagnostic interview (DSM-IV criteria), BIS-11 impulsiveness scale, and KMSK scales, dimensional measures of maximal exposure to specific drugs. RESULTS:In volunteers with OD + CD, ages of onset of heaviest use of cannabis (median age = 15) and alcohol (median age = 19) were in adolescence or emerging adulthood and preceded those for heroin and cocaine (median ages = 26 and 25, respectively). Maximal levels of cannabis and alcohol exposure were high, in volunteers with OD + CD. In adjusted Cox regressions, gender was not a significant predictor of time of heroin or cocaine escalation. However, more rapid time of alcohol escalation was a predictor of more rapid time of escalation of both heroin and cocaine, in volunteers with OD + CD.
Drug Alcohol Depend (Drug and alcohol dependence)
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