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Addict Behav. 2013 Oct;38(10):2485-91. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 May 22.

Daily temporal patterns of heroin and cocaine use and craving: relationship with business hours regardless of actual employment status.

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  • 1National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health, 251 Bayview Blvd, BRC Building, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Real-time monitoring of behavior using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) has provided detailed data about daily temporal patterns of craving and use in cigarette smokers. We have collected similar data from a sample of cocaine and heroin users. Here we analyzed it in the context of its relationship with a societal construct of daily temporal organization: 9-to-5 business hours. In a 28-week prospective study, 112 methadone-maintained polydrug-abusing individuals initiated an electronic-diary entry and provided data each time they used cocaine, heroin, or both during weeks 4 to 28. EMA data were collected for 10,781 person-days and included: 663 cocaine-craving events, 710 cocaine-use events, 288 heroin-craving events, 66 heroin-use events, 630 craving-both-drugs events, and 282 use-of-both-drugs events. At baseline, 34% of the participants reported full-time employment in the preceding 3-year period. Most participants' current employment status fluctuated throughout the study. In a generalized linear mixed model (SAS Proc Glimmix), cocaine use varied by time of day relative to business hours (p<0.0001) and there was a significant interaction between Day of the Week and Time Relative to Business Hours (p<0.002) regardless of current work status. Cocaine craving also varied by time of day relative to business hours (p<0.0001), however, there was no significant interaction between Day of the Week and Time Relative to Business Hours (p=.57). Heroin craving and use were mostly reported during business hours, but data were sparse. Cocaine craving is most frequent during business hours while cocaine use is more frequent after business hours. Cocaine use during business hours, but not craving, seems suppressed on most weekdays, but not weekends, suggesting that societal conventions reflected in business hours influence drug-use patterns even in individuals whose daily schedules are not necessarily dictated by employment during conventional business hours.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Business hours; Cocaine; Craving/use; Ecological Momentary Assessment; Heroin

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