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Does Cigarette Smoking Affect Drug Abuse Treatment?

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: Winter 2001 Pages: 61-80
William J. McCarthy; Cyleste Collins; Yih-Ing Hser
Bruce Bullington
Date Published
20 pages
Four hundred and seven polydrug users in 15 treatment centers were studied at baseline and 1 year follow-up on smoking status; reported drug use; urine test results; Former Smokers (SF)-36 scores; Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL); Addiction Severity Index (ASI)-alcohol use; and -drug use; -psychiatric problems; and ad hoc employment-related problems with a conclusion that long-term abstinence from tobacco use is associated with more favorable health outcomes.
Four hundred and seven polydrug users, in 15 treatment centers in Los Angeles, were studied to determine if quitting cigarette smoking helped or hurt the polydrug user in treatment for drug abuse. Data were obtained at baseline and 1 year follow-up on smoking status; reported drug use; urine test results; SF-36 scores, Hopkins SCL, ASI-alcohol use,-drug use; and -psychiatric problems; and ad hoc employment-related problems. Former smokers reporting continuous abstinence from tobacco use from baseline to 1 year follow-up were less likely to relapse to heroin use and were also less likely to experience medical and emotional problems. However, respondents who quit smoking during or at around the time of treatment were more likely to experience employment-related and psychiatric problems. This study concluded that long-term continuous abstinence from cigarette smoking by polydrug-using former smokers was associated with more desirable physical and emotional health outcomes whether drug users were in treatment or not. Polydrug users were found to be more likely to succeed in quitting their illicit drug use if they were already abstinent from tobacco use prior to entry to treatment. It is recommended that communities target smoking cessation services to polydrug users before or long after treatment, instead of during active treatment for drug abuse, in order to reduce the incidence of employment-related and/or psychiatric problems during treatment. References