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Marijuana use and treatment outcome among opioid-dependent patients

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Aims. Information concerning the association between marijuana use and opioid dependence and its treatment is needed to determine effective clinical guidelines for addressing marijuana use among opioid abusers . Setting and participants. Marijuana use was assessed in 107 people enrolled in treatment for opioid dependence . Design and measurement. Univariate comparisons of marijuana users and non-users and multivariate regression analyses were performed to examine associations between marijuana use and socio-demographic, psychosocial, medical and substance-use variables. The relationship between marijuana use and treatment outcome was also explored in a subset of this sample who received treatment that included buprenorphine detoxification and behavior therapy (N = 79 ). Findings. Sixty-six per cent of participants were current marijuana users and almost all (94%) continued to use during treatment. Users were less likely to be married than non-users, and more likely to report financial difficulties, be involved in drug dealing and engage in sharing of needles ( p 0.05). A unique effect of marijuana use on drug dealing and sharing needles was retained after statistically controlling for the influence of heroin and alcohol use and other socio-demographic variables. No significant adverse relations were observed between marijuana use and treatment outcome. Conclusion. Pending a more comprehensive understanding of the function and consequences of marijuana use on psychosocial functioning, it appears that progress in treatment for opioid dependence can be made without mandating that patients abstain from marijuana use.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-04-01

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