The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4241.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 5:00 PM

Abstract #59665

Psychiatric problems and frequency of drug use among young injection drug users (IDUs) in Chicago

Susan L Bailey, PhD1, Joyce M Fitzgerald, BA1, Richard S Garfein, PhD, MPH2, and Lawrence Ouellet, PhD1. (1) Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612, 312-996-7666,, (2) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Epidemiology Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS E-45, Atlanta, GA 30333

Objectives: Self-medicating psychiatric symptoms is one potential reason for substance abuse. We examined psychiatric problems and their association with types of drug use among young IDUs. Methods: Subjects were 357 current injectors, 15-30 years old, recruited through street outreach and participant referral. Main variables measured intensity of psychiatric problems in the past week (5 categories from "not at all" to "extreme") and frequency of drug use in the past 6 months (7 categories from "never" to ">5 times/day everyday"). Results: Mean age was 23 years; 65% were male; 99% Caucasian with 10% Latino ethnicity. Intense anxiety and depression problems were reported with 30% being easily irritated; 28% feeling hopeless about the future; 21% feeling blue; and 18% feeling tense or keyed-up. Nearly 27% reported panic attacks. After controlling for demographic factors associated with type of drug use, illegal use of tranquilizers was correlated with 10 out of 12 psychiatric problems, while frequency of heroin use was only associated with one measure of anxiety (partial correlation [PC]=0.13, p<0.05). Panic attacks were associated with use of tranquilizers (PC=0.21, p<0.01), illegal methadone (Spearman's rho [SR]=0.20, inhalants (PC=0.20, p<0.05), hallucinogens (PC=0.21, p<0.01), crack (PC=0.13, p<0.05), and powder cocaine (SR=0.12, p<0.05). Conclusions: Panic attacks were common in this cohort and may be caused by stimulant and hallucinogen use, as well as organic conditions. However, associations between panic attacks and tranquilizer or methadone use could indicate that some IDUs were self-medicating their symptoms.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Mental Disorders

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Risk Behaviors and HIV, HBV, and HCV Injections Among Young Adult IDUs: CIDUS III/Drug Users Intervention Trial

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA