Changing patterns of illicit substance use among schizophrenic patients: 1984-1996.
Over 1,700 psychiatric emergency room visits of schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients between 1984 and 1996 were reviewed, and urine drug screens (UDS) were recorded. Illicit drug use increased significantly over the 12-year period, with a large increase for cocaine (0% to 73% of positive UDS), a decline for amphetamines (60% to 0%), and a small increase for marijuana (0% to 27%). Opiate and sedative use remained unchanged. The results support the impression that cocaine use increased dramatically among urban schizophrenic patients beginning in 1988 and continuing to the present. Furthermore, cocaine seems to have replaced amphetamines as the preferred drug of abuse among schizophrenic persons following the crack epidemic.
Patkar, AA; Alexander, RC; Lundy, A; Certa, KM
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