Physical harm due to chronic substance use.

J. van Amsterdam, E. Pennings, T. Brunt, W. van den Brink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Abstract
Chronic use at high dose of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco is associated with physical disease. The relative physical harm of these substances has not been described before, but will benefit the guiding of policy measures about licit and illicit substances. The physical harm of 19 addictive substances (including alcohol and tobacco), consisting of toxicity and the risk and severity of somatic disease (not psychiatric disease) was assessed based on literature data and the professional opinion of experts using scores ranging from 0 (no physical harm) to 3 (very serious physical harm). For alcohol, tobacco and some illicit drugs strong associations between long-term use or use in high dose versus the risk of somatic disease have been described, whereas for other substances such data are not available. Magic mushrooms, LSD and methylphenidate obtained relatively low scores (0.45-0.65) for physical harm, whereas relatively high scores were given for heroin (2.09), crack (2.32), alcohol (2.13) and tobacco (2.10). For cannabis, tobacco, and alcohol the estimated societal disease burden was higher than at individual level. The present ranking solely based on their physical harm was very similar to a previous ranking based on a combination of dependence liability, physical harm and social impairments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Illicit drugs
  • Physical
  • Disease
  • Chronic
  • Relative
  • Risk
  • DRUG-USE
  • ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE
  • ILLICIT DRUGS
  • YOUNG-ADULTS
  • COCAINE
  • POPULATION
  • STUDENTS
  • STEROIDS
  • KHAT

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