Tobacco and alcohol use and medical symptoms among cocaine dependent patients.
Despite the widespread use of tobacco and alcohol by illicit drug users, the medical effects of smoking and alcohol use remain understudied among such individuals. We investigated the relationship between smoking and alcohol use, and medical symptoms among 125 cocaine dependent patients. Subjects were assessed for smoking, alcohol use, and medical problems using a standardized self-report instrument (MILCOM). Medical symptoms were compared among nonsmokers, moderate smokers (less than 10 cigarettes per day), and heavy smokers (10 or more cigarettes per day) using partial chi-square statistics. Similar comparisons of medical symptoms were made between alcohol users (more than 2 drinks per day) and nonusers. Contrary to our expectations, there were no significant differences between nonsmokers, moderate smokers, and heavy smokers across most of the 14 major medical systems. However, regardless of the level of cocaine use, nonsmokers reported the fewest symptoms on the general subscale (p < 0.05) while moderate smokers reported the most nose/throat and respiratory symptoms (p < 0.01) among the three groups. As expected, significant relationships were observed between medical symptoms and alcohol use. Alcohol users reported more respiratory (p < 0.05), cardiovascular (p < 0.01), digestive (p < 0.05), head/neck (p < 0.001), eye (p < 0.01), and general (p < 0.05) symptoms than nonusers. While the findings generally support the link between alcohol and medical problems, it seems that the relationship between medical symptoms and smoking among cocaine patients may be more complex than that observed in the general population.
Patkar, AA; Lundy, A; Leone, FT; Weinstein, SP; Gottheil, E; Steinberg, M
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