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Illicit opioid use and its key characteristics: A select overview and evidence from a Canadian multi-site cohort of illicit opioid users (OPICAN)


Fischer, B; Firestone Cruz, M; Rehm, Jürgen (2006). Illicit opioid use and its key characteristics: A select overview and evidence from a Canadian multi-site cohort of illicit opioid users (OPICAN). Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 51(10):624-634.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:
To summarize key characteristics and consequences of illicit opioid use from the literature and to present corresponding data from a multisite sample of illicit opioid users in 5 Canadian cities (OPICAN study).
METHOD:
We undertook an overview of recent literature from North America, Australia, and Europe. We obtained data from the multicity OPICAN cohort study, which consisted of an interviewer-administered questionnaire, a standardized mental health instrument (the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form for depression), and saliva-antibody tests for infectious disease (that is, HIV and hepatitis C virus). The baseline sample (n=679) was collected in 2002.
RESULTS:
Illicit opioid use in Canada and elsewhere is becoming increasingly heterogeneous in terms of opioid drugs used, with heroin playing an increasingly minor role; further, it predominantly occurs in a context of polydrug use (for example, cocaine-crack or benzodiazepines). Large proportions of illicit opioid users have physical and (or) mental health comorbidities, including infectious disease and (or) depression, and therefore require integrated interventions. Finally, morbidity risks among illicit opioid users are often predicted by social marginalization factors, for example, housing status or involvement in
CONCLUSIONS:
Given the epidemiologic profile and high disease burden associated with contemporary forms of illicit opioid use, more effective treatment approaches are urgently needed in Canada and elsewhere. Specifically, treatment must adjust to the extensive polysubstance use realities, yet it must also more effectively address the complex physical and (or) mental health comorbidities presented by this high-risk population.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:
To summarize key characteristics and consequences of illicit opioid use from the literature and to present corresponding data from a multisite sample of illicit opioid users in 5 Canadian cities (OPICAN study).
METHOD:
We undertook an overview of recent literature from North America, Australia, and Europe. We obtained data from the multicity OPICAN cohort study, which consisted of an interviewer-administered questionnaire, a standardized mental health instrument (the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form for depression), and saliva-antibody tests for infectious disease (that is, HIV and hepatitis C virus). The baseline sample (n=679) was collected in 2002.
RESULTS:
Illicit opioid use in Canada and elsewhere is becoming increasingly heterogeneous in terms of opioid drugs used, with heroin playing an increasingly minor role; further, it predominantly occurs in a context of polydrug use (for example, cocaine-crack or benzodiazepines). Large proportions of illicit opioid users have physical and (or) mental health comorbidities, including infectious disease and (or) depression, and therefore require integrated interventions. Finally, morbidity risks among illicit opioid users are often predicted by social marginalization factors, for example, housing status or involvement in
CONCLUSIONS:
Given the epidemiologic profile and high disease burden associated with contemporary forms of illicit opioid use, more effective treatment approaches are urgently needed in Canada and elsewhere. Specifically, treatment must adjust to the extensive polysubstance use realities, yet it must also more effectively address the complex physical and (or) mental health comorbidities presented by this high-risk population.

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36 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:opioid;use
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:20 May 2014 12:07
Last Modified:15 Jan 2017 06:23
Publisher:Canadian Psychiatric Association
ISSN:0706-7437
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/070674370605101002
PubMed ID:17052030

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