Short-term changes in substance use among problematic alcohol and drug users from a general population sample

Kristina Sinadinovic, Peter Wennberg, Anne H. Berman

Abstract


Sinadinovic, K., Wennberg, P., & Berman, A. (2014). Short-term changes in substance use among problematic alcohol and drug users from a general population sample. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 3(4), 277-287. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v3i4.186

Aims: To investigate 12-month changes among individuals with baseline problematic use of alcohol or illicit drugs, by gender, age, initial level of substance use, and administration method (Internet or Interactive Voice Response, IVR).

Design: 1,861 individuals from a random population sample were screened for problematic alcohol and illicit drug use. Individuals screening positive were followed up after 12 months.

Setting: The Swedish general population.

Participants: 423 individuals with baseline problematic alcohol (women: AUDIT ≥ 6, men: AUDIT ≥ 8) or drug use (both genders: DUDIT ≥ 1).

Measures: AUDIT, DUDIT, AUDIT-C and DUDIT-C scores.

Findings: AUDIT scores decreased from 10.43 to 8.62; among 239 participants with baseline problematic alcohol use, 34.3% no longer had problematic use at follow-up. Total DUDIT scores decreased from 4.92 to 2.33; among 51 participants with baseline problematic drug use, 60.8% reported no illicit drug use at follow-up. AUDIT and DUDIT scores decreased more for individuals who at baseline had harmful problematic use, compared to those who had hazardous baseline use. Within-group effect sizes for AUDIT and DUDIT scores varied between 0.29 and 0.69 (Cohen’s d).

Conclusions: Data on short-term change in problematic substance use in a random general population sample could constitute a reference point for comparisons for uncontrolled treatment studies.


Keywords


Screening; general population; natural variation; alcohol; illicit drugs; spontaneous remission

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v3i4.186

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