Home > New psychoactives within polydrug use trajectories-evidence from a mixed-method longitudinal study.

Higgins, Kathryn and O'Neill, Nina and O'Hara, Leeanne and Jordan, Julie-Ann and McCann, Mark and O'Neill, Tara and Clarke, Mike and O'Neill, Tony and Kelly, Grace and Campbell, Anne (2021) New psychoactives within polydrug use trajectories-evidence from a mixed-method longitudinal study. Addiction, 116, (9), pp. 2454-2462. doi: 10.1111/add.15422.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.15...

AIMS: To provide public health-related research evidence on types and usage patterns of new psychoactive substances (NPS), developmental pathways into NPS and decision-making factors for, and associated harms of, NPS use.

DESIGN: Three-phase mixed-methods design, including a latent class analysis (LCA) of the longitudinal Belfast Youth Development Study (BYDS), a narrative analysis of interviews with NPS users and a three-step approach manual method modelling using regressions to reveal classes of substance use and their associated predictors and outcomes.
SETTING: Northern Ireland.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2039 people who responded to the questions on 'ever use' of the drug variables included at wave 7 (aged 21 years) of the BYDS. Eighty-four narrative interviews with NPS users.
MEASUREMENTS: Categories of drug use identified by LCA. Predictors and outcomes included measures of family, partners, peers, substance use, school, delinquency and mental health.

FINDINGS: A four-class solution provided the best fit for the data: alcohol; alcohol and tobacco; alcohol, tobacco and cannabis; and polydrug (the latter including NPS). The qualitative analysis yielded a taxonomy that distinguished how NPS operate within a wider range of drug repertoires from experimental to problematic.

CONCLUSIONS: In Northern Ireland, new psychoactive substances appear to be a feature of broader polydrug use rather than a standalone class of drug use.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances, New psychoactive substance
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
Identification #
doi: 10.1111/add.15422
Page Range
pp. 2454-2462

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