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Home > Patterns of new psychoactive substance use among opioid-dependent patients attending for opioid substitution treatment.

McCarron, Peter and Smyth, Bobby P and Carroll, G and Glynn, Michael and Barry, Joseph and Whiston, L and Keenan, Eamon and Darker, Catherine D and Truszkowska, Edyta (2021) Patterns of new psychoactive substance use among opioid-dependent patients attending for opioid substitution treatment. Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, Early online, .

External website: https://www.heroinaddictionrelatedclinicalproblems...


Background: Until 2010, New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) could be bought legally in headshops in Ireland. Research on NPS use is lacking among opioid-dependent patients, who are likely to be at increased risk of consumption.

 

Aim: Among patients attending an opioid substitution clinic we sought to investigate reasons for NPS use, administration, adverse effects, and consumption in the previous three months.

 

Methods: The study was carried out in the National Drug Treatment Centre, Dublin, Ireland. Data were collected on 213 participants through an interviewer-administrated survey.

 

Results: Most participants were male (69.5%). A total of 133 (61.5%) participants had used NPS at least once and 14 (6.6%) in the last three months. Being older at the time of interview, and when first consuming illicit substances were inversely associated with NPS consumption. Ninety-three participants (71.5%) bought NPS for the first time from a headshop, 20.8% from a friend, and 6.9% from a dealer. After the closure of headshops, dealers were the most common source of NPS. Cathinones were the most commonly consumed NPS class. One third of participants injected NPS. Almost half the participants experienced no adverse effects although paranoia did occur frequently.

 

Conclusions: In the current study the majority of those who had ever taken NPS, did so before 2010 (when legislation forced the closure of headshops), and only 11% of participants reported ongoing NPS use, suggesting that making the supply of NPS illegal reduced their consumption. Furthermore, since a high proportion of participants administered NPS intravenously, the closure of headshops is likely to have led to improved health outcomes among this group of patients.

 

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