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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2006 Dec;31(4):355-64. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Heroin and cocaine craving and use during treatment: measurement validation and potential relationships.

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  • 1Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Although commonly assessed with unidimensional scales, craving has been suggested to be multifaceted and to have a complex relationship with drug use and relapse. This study assessed the consistency and predictive validity of unidimensional and multidimensional craving scales. At the beginning of a 12-week outpatient treatment trial, opiate users (n = 101) and cocaine users (n = 72) completed unidimensional visual analog scales (VASs) assessing "want," "need," and "craving" and multidimensional 14- and 45-item versions of the Cocaine Craving Questionnaire (CCQ) or Heroin Craving Questionnaire (HCQ). Spearman correlations between the VASs and the first-order factors from the 45-item CCQ/HCQ were .20-.40, suggesting that the two types of assessment were not redundant. Treatment dropout and in-treatment drug use were more frequently predicted by scores on the 14- or 45-item CCQ than by VAS ratings. Results suggest that the CCQ/HCQ and the 14-item CCQ provide information that unidimensional VASs do not.

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