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Prev Med. 2006 Aug;43(2):125-8. Epub 2006 May 11.

Risk for initiation of substance use as a function of age of onset of cigarette, alcohol and cannabis use: findings in a Midwestern female twin cohort.

Author information

1
Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, St Louis, MO 63110, USA. arpana@wustl.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We investigated whether use and early-onset use of cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis contributed an increase in risk for initiation of subsequent psychoactive substances in women (N = 3729, mean age = 21.7).

METHODS:

Drugs were ordered in ascending order of initiation: cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis and other illicit drugs, with early-onset use of each drug used as a time-varying covariate to predict initiation of subsequent drugs. Interactions of use and early-onset use, with age of initiation of subsequent drugs, were evaluated using discrete-time Cox survival analyses.

RESULTS:

The association between each substance and the early-onset of subsequent drug use was strong (ORs 1.54-19.9). Women who initiated cigarette, alcohol or cannabis use at an early age were at elevated risk for early experimentation with each subsequent drug class. Furthermore, early-onset of more than one substance contributed greater risk for initiation of subsequent drugs.

CONCLUSION:

Prevention efforts should target risk factors that contribute to early initiation of cigarette and alcohol use and may subsequently correlate with hard drug involvement.

PMID:
16697036
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.03.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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