Home > Polysubstance use in the U.S. opioid crisis.

Compton, Wilson M and Valentino, Rita J and DuPont, Robert L (2021) Polysubstance use in the U.S. opioid crisis. Molecular Psychiatry, 26, (1), pp. 41-50. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-00949-3.

External website: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-020-00949-3

Interventions to address the U.S. opioid crisis primarily target opioid use, misuse, and addiction, but because the opioid crisis includes multiple substances, the opioid specificity of interventions may limit their ability to address the broader problem of polysubstance use. Overlap of opioids with other substances ranges from shifts among the substances used across the lifespan to simultaneous co-use of substances that span similar and disparate pharmacological categories.

Evidence suggests that nonmedical opioid users quite commonly use other drugs, and this polysubstance use contributes to increasing morbidity and mortality. Reasons for adding other substances to opioids include enhancement of the high (additive or synergistic reward), compensation for undesired effects of one drug by taking another, compensation for negative internal states, or a common predisposition that is related to all substance consumption. But consumption of multiple substances may itself have unique effects. To achieve the maximum benefit, addressing the overlap of opioids with multiple other substances is needed across the spectrum of prevention and treatment interventions, overdose reversal, public health surveillance, and research. By addressing the multiple patterns of consumption and the reasons that people mix opioids with other substances, interventions and research may be enhanced.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco), Opioid
Intervention Type
Drug therapy
January 2021
Identification #
doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-00949-3
Page Range
pp. 41-50
Nature Publishing Group

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