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Childhood adversity and certain mental health disorders are associated with increased risk of incident drug use among adults

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Are sociodemographic variables, childhood adversity or mental health disorders associated with incident drug use in adults who report no prior drug use?


26 935 community dwelling adults enrolled in the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Participants had to report no history of illicit drug use during the first wave of the study (from 2001 to 2002) for inclusion in the current analysis. Incident drug use was assessed in a second wave of interviews (from 2004 to 2005).


Community setting, USA; from 2001 to 2005.

Risk factors

Sociodemographic variables: income, race, education, marital status, age, sex and region. Childhood traumatic events: physical abuse, witnessing violence in the home, neglect and sexual assault. Family history of substance use: first-degree relatives (siblings or parents) with a history of problem drinking or problem drug use. Mental health disorders (defined using DSM-IV criteria): any mood disorder (major depression, dysthymia, bipolar I, bipolar II), any anxiety disorder (panic disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalised anxiety disorder), any personality disorder (schizoid, …

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  • Sources of funding Manitoba Health Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


  • Competing interests None.

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