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Drinking and drug use from a prospective perspective

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center



* FARE Award Winner


  • M Jobes
  • D Epstein
  • K Preston


Aim: To investigate the relationships between triggers, including alcohol consumption, drug use and craving. Methods: The day-to-day experience of addiction and recovery was examined using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) as a real-time data collection method in a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study of heroin and cocaine users; individuals who met DSM criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence were excluded. 114 methadone-maintained participants carried handheld data collection devices (PDAs: personal digital assistants) during all waking hours for up to 25 weeks. Participants responded to 2-5 random prompts per day reporting their locations, moods, and activities, including whether they were drinking alcohol. Participants also initiated entries when they used or craved heroin or cocaine; drinking was assessed at these “event-contingent” entries (ECs) as well. Results: Participants reported drinking alcohol in 1.6% of random-prompts. Frequency of drinking was over two times higher in ECs when craving for cocaine and/or heroin was reported, and almost 8 times higher in ECs when actual use of cocaine or heroin was reported. Conclusions: The association between alcohol and drug use established in retrospective studies was confirmed in this prospective EMA study. Even among participants with low baseline rates of alcohol consumption, alcohol was associated with drug craving and actual use.

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