Descriptive statistics such as means, ranges and percentages were calculated. Drug doses were calculated based on the average of the doses reported. Duration of use and duration of drug problems were calculated by using the highest number reported by the patients.

Reliability testing of the data collection was performed in 11% of patient charts. Discrepancies in the data were found in 4% of the information that was checked, but these differences directly affected the results in only three (0.7%) cases. These differences included duration of opioid use for two patients and age of onset of drug problems for one patient. buy asthma inhalers

Data were coded and entered into an Apple Macintosh II SI microcomputer (Apple Computer Inc, California) and analyzed with Microsoft Excel 5.0 (Microsoft Corporation,Wash-ington).


Fifty-eight patients agreed to participate in the study (10% of total admissions for this time period). The demographic characteristics of the population are shown in Table 1. Sixty percent of patients were males, most (60%) had completed secondary school and 53% were unemployed.

TABLE 1 Demographic characteristics of 58 opioid-dependent patients

n (%)
Employment status
Full time 14
Part time 1
Self employed 4
Not employed 31
Homemaker 1
Not in labour force 6
Student 1
Male 35
Female 23
Admission age (years)
20-29 15
30-39 31
40-49 6
50-59 4
60-69 1
Mean age (± SD) 35.4±9.5
Public school or lower 4
Some secondary school 18
Secondary school completed 19
Some nonuniversity postsecondary 7
Nonuniversity postsecondary completed 3
Some university 3
University completed 3
Relationship status
Single (never married) 12
Married 32
Separated 7
Divorced 5
Widowed 2

Psychoactive substance use disorders

Multiple drug dependence: Figure 1 shows the current and past psychoactive substance use disorders in the patients studied. By definition, all patients met criteria for oral opioid dependence, but multiple drug dependence was common in this sample (Figure 2). Seventeen patients (29%) met criteria for abuse or dependence of one additional substance use disorder, 21 patients (36%) met criteria for two or more additional substance use disorders (15 patients had at least three additional substance use disorders). Forty per cent of patients were also dependent on sedative hypnotics (primarily benzodiazepines), and 21% on alcohol. Sixteen per cent of patients were also dependent on heroin, although it was the opioid of choice for only 9% of patients. Seventeen per cent of patients were concurrently dependent on or abusing cocaine. Past history of drug dependence and abuse was also frequent; 38% of patients had been dependent on alcohol, and 24% on stimulants.

Figure1Severe dependence on oral opiods
Figure 1) Top Percentage of patients with a current substance use disorder other than opioid substance use disorder. Bottom Percentage of patients with a past substance use disorder other than opioid use disorder
Figure2Severe dependence on oral opiods
Figure 2) Combinations of current psychoactive substance use disorders