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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2019 May;38(4):428-434. doi: 10.1111/dar.12921. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

Homelessness and incarceration associated with relapse into stimulant and opioid use among youth who are street-involved in Vancouver, Canada.

Author information

1
B.C. Centre on Substance Use, Vancouver, Canada.
2
Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
3
School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

While much research has sought to identify the factors associated with initiation and cessation of various forms of drug use among vulnerable youth, little is known about relapse into drug use in this population. We sought to characterise relapse into stimulant and opioid use among street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Data were collected between 2005 and 2017 from the At-Risk Youth Study, a prospective cohort study of street-involved youth who use illicit drugs in Vancouver. Multivariable extended Cox regression was utilised to identify factors associated with relapse into illegal stimulants and/or opioids among youth who had previously ceased using stimulants and/or opioids for 6 months or longer.

RESULTS:

Among 246 participants who reported a period of cessation lasting 6 months or longer, 165 (67.1%) relapsed at some point during study follow-up. Youth who were recently incarcerated (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR]: 1.46), homeless (AHR: 1.43), or had a history of daily stimulant use (AHR: 1.48) were significantly more likely to report relapse, while youth of who identified as white (AHR: 0.74) were significantly less likely to report relapse (all P < 0.05).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Relapse into stimulants and/or opioids was common among youth in our setting, and incarceration, homelessness, and daily stimulant use were found to be positively associated with relapse among youth. Findings suggest that increased access to youth housing supports and alternatives to the criminalisation of drug use may help to reduce the rates of relapse into stimulants and/or opioids in this population.

KEYWORDS:

homeless youth; recurrence; substance-related disorders

PMID:
30896070
PMCID:
PMC6508978
[Available on 2020-05-01]
DOI:
10.1111/dar.12921

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