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J Stud Alcohol. 2001 Jan;62(1):14-22.

Alcohol dependence among cocaine-dependent outpatients: demographics, drug use, treatment outcome and other characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington 05401-1419, USA. sarah.heil@uvm.edu



Concurrent dependence on alcohol is common among those seeking treatment for cocaine dependence. More information is needed about differences between those with and without concurrent alcohol dependence, including possible special treatment needs or outcome differences.


Data were obtained from 302 adults (70% men) enrolled in outpatient treatment for cocaine dependence. Individuals who did and those who did not meet criteria for alcohol dependence were compared on demographics, drug use, treatment outcome and other variables.


With regard to cocaine use, alcoholics were more likely than nonalcoholics to report an intranasal route of administration, use of cocaine in social settings, more simultaneous use of cocaine and alcohol, and more adverse consequences of their cocaine use. With regard to alcohol use, alcoholics reported consuming alcohol more frequently and in larger amounts, had longer drinking histories and were more likely than nonalcoholics to report increases in alcohol consumption when using cocaine. Alcoholics were heavier cigarette smokers than nonalcoholics and reported more severe employment, legal, family and psychiatric problems. There were overall improvements in both groups from intake through 12 months after treatment. With regard to treatment retention and cocaine abstinence, alcoholics had better outcomes than nonalcoholics when treated with intensive behavioral counseling plus incentives, but the reverse was true when treated with control treatments.


Compared with nonalcoholic cocaine-dependent subjects, codependent patients exhibit a wider array of problems, many of which merit professional attention. Both alcoholics and nonalcoholics exhibit substantial improvements during treatment, with alcoholics perhaps requiring extra treatment efforts for successful outcomes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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