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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Florida: Researchers Examine Substance Use Patterns among People Who Use Cocaine

A new University of Florida study finds a number of complex patterns of polysubstance abuse among people who use cocaine. The findings appear in the journal Addictive Behavior Reports.

“Past research on cocaine polysubstance use mostly dichotomized all cocaine users into those who only used cocaine and those who used cocaine plus one other substance,” said lead author Ms. Yiyang Liu, an epidemiology doctoral student at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine. “However, patterns of polysubstance with more than two substances are typically ignored. In our study, we used latent class analysis to examine the complex patterns of polysubstance use among lifetime cocaine users.”

Researchers asked participants about their past 30-day and other lifetime use of cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription medications. They also asked participants about mental health conditions and recent emergency department visits.

The researchers identified five patterns of past 30-day substance use among nearly 2,000 lifetime cocaine users. These included tobacco use only; alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use; tobacco, prescription opioid and sedative use; cocaine, alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use; and cocaine and multiple polysubstance use.

“Our findings indicate that cocaine polysubstance users are a heterogeneous group,” Ms. Liu said. “We found that there are several different patterns of use and each has different risk factors. This suggests one unified intervention may not work well for all cocaine users.”

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