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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Jul 10;89(2-3):161-9. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Overdose after detoxification: a prospective study.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center (ADARC), McLean Hospital, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine predictors of non-fatal overdose (OD) among a cohort of 470 adults after detoxification from heroin, cocaine or alcohol.


We examined factors associated with time to OD during 2 years after discharge from an urban detoxification unit in Boston, MA, USA using multivariable regression analyses. Separate analyses were performed for both the total sample and a subgroup with problem opioid use.


Lifetime prevalence for any OD was 30.9% (145/470) in the total sample and 42.3% (85/201) in patients with opioid problems. During the 2-year follow-up, OD was estimated to occur in 16.9% of the total sample and 26.7% of the opioid problem subgroup, with new-onset (incidence) OD estimated at 5.7% and 11.0%, respectively. Factors associated with an increased hazard of OD in both samples included white race, more depressive symptoms, and prior OD regardless of intent. Prior suicidal ideation or attempt was not associated with future OD.


Findings underscore both the high prevalence of non-fatal OD among detoxification patients especially opioid users, and the potency of prior OD as a risk factor for future OD. Depressive symptoms, a modifiable risk factor, may represent a potential intervention target to prevent OD, including some "unintentional" ODs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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