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Post-traumatic stress disorder increases the risk of new drug problems in young adults

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Philip L Reed

Correspondence to: Philip L Reed, PhD, Biomedical Research and Informatics Center, Michigan State University, 100 Conrad Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1327, USA;



Is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with risk of new drug problems?


988 young adults (aged 19–24 years) who had enrolled in a large cohort study while in first grade and followed through primary and middle school and on into adulthood. Of the original 2311 participants, only those at risk of a new drug use disorder (those without lifetime DSM-IV drug dependence, and who did not have clinical features of DSM-IV drug abuse or dependence in the previous 12 months) were included in this study. Due to funding problems, not all of these 1436 people were followed up and 988 were included in the final analysis.


Participants recruited in 19 primary public schools in 5 urban areas in a large city in the USA; enrolment 1985–6, follow-up to 2002.

Risk factors:

The main risk factors of interest were lifetime exposure to at least one DSM-IV-qualifying traumatic event in the absence of post-traumatic stress disorder …

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  • Source of funding: National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  • ▸Additional notes and references are published online only at


  • Competing interests: None.

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