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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2019 Apr;99:134-138. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2019.01.023. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

A comparison of 2013 and 2017 baseline characteristics among treatment-seeking patients who used opioids with co-occurring disorders.

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School of Social Work, Georgia State University, 55 Park Place, Rm. 575, Atlanta, GA 30303, United States of America. Electronic address:
Universal Health Services, Inc., 1000 Health Park Drive, Building 3, Suite 400, Brentwood, TN 37027, United States of America. Electronic address:
School of Social Work, Georgia State University, 55 Park Place, Rm. 552, Atlanta, GA 30303, United States of America. Electronic address:


The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that has captured the attention of the media and political leaders, but how much do we know about its implications for substance use disorder treatment providers? This study is the first to investigate the differing baseline characteristics among patients with co-occurring disorders who used opioids and entered residential treatment in 2013 and 2017. Our sample consisted of 1413 unique adults who reported using opioids upon admission to integrated residential treatment for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders during 2013 (n = 718) and 2017 (n = 695). Opioid use was defined as self-reported use of heroin or illicit use of prescription opioids, including methadone, during the month prior to admission into the treatment program. All study participants completed an admission interview that included the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). The 2017 cohort demonstrated higher severity than the 2013 cohort on the employment, psychiatric, and alcohol and drug ASI composite scores. A comparison of days per month that the cohorts used various substances also reveals this trend, with the following comparisons listing the 2017 cohort data first, and the 2013 cohort data second: (1) alcohol (8.6 days vs. 7.0 days); (2) cocaine (4.1 days vs. 2.2 days); (3) amphetamines (6.2 days vs. 3.6 days); and (4) polysubstance use in one day (16.6 days vs. 11.6 days). The 2017 cohort was also intoxicated from alcohol more days per month (7.2 days vs. 5.1 days). However, the 2017 cohort reported fewer days using prescription opioids (9.9 days vs. 12.4 days). A higher proportion of the 2017 cohort reported (1) depression (74% vs. 68%); (2) anxiety (88% vs. 84%); (3) hallucinations (14% vs 8%); and (4) and suicidal ideation (22% vs. 17%).


Addiction severity index; Baseline characteristics; Co-occurring disorders; Opioids; Polysubstance use


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