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Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Dependence and Association with Concurrent Use of Cocaine, Alcohol, and Cannabis: A Cross-Sectional Study

Publication at Central Library of Charles University |


Introduction: Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATSs) are the second most commonly used class of illegal substances in Europe. Although concurrent substance use has been subject to research, little is known about associations between concurrent use of cocaine, alcohol, or cannabis and ATS dependence.

We expect that the concurrent use of any of the substance, especially cannabis and cocaine, is associated with ATS dependence. Methods: Cross-sectional data were gathered within the European ATTUNE study in 2018/2019.

Participants (N = 721) were asked about their consumption patterns and social, psychological, and economic situation. Multivariate logistic regressions were carried out for associations between ATS dependence and use combinations of frequent cocaine, alcohol, or cannabis, with the reference group of no frequent concurrent use (model 1).

Model 2 calculated associations for ATS dependence with lifetime methamphetamine use for respective use combinations. Results: The study population was on average 28.9 years old (SD = 7.7), with the majority being male (63.5%).

In model 1, the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for frequent alcohol use was 0.70 (confidence interval [CI] 0.41-1.20). Similar results were shown for model 2 (aOR 0.82, CI 0.42-1.62).

Frequent cannabis use significantly reduced the chance for ATS dependence by 50% in adjusted model 1 (aOR 0.50, CI 0.28-0.89) and by 62% in model 2 (aOR 0.38, CI 0.18-0.82). For frequent cocaine use, models 1 and 2 report an aOR at 1.37 (CI 0.58-3.25) and 2.39 (CI 0.77-7.43), although not statistically significant.

Frequent users of all 3 substances had a significant 3-fold chance for ATS dependence (model 1: aOR 2.98, CI 1.16-7.63; model 2: aOR 2.95, CI 1.02-8.58). Discussion: Against initial hypotheses, frequent concurrent use of alcohol or cannabis generally decreased chances for ATS dependence.

An explanation could be the study population, which consists of many irregular users of ATS, who mainly consume alcohol or cannabis. Cocaine generally increased chances, although results were not significant.

The frequent use of all 3 substances together with ATS in the last year was significantly associated with dependence, thus reporting important information for treatment services. Further research is needed for disentangling causal relationships underlying these associations and for pinpointing consequences for relapse prevention and retention success. (C) 2021 S.

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