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Comorbidities between psychiatric diseases and consumption of traditional substances of abuse are common. Nevertheless, there is no data regarding the use of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) in the psychiatric population.
The purpose of this multicentre survey is to investigate the consumption of a wide variety of psychoactive substances in a young psychiatric sample.
Between September 2013 and November 2015, a questionnaire has been administered, in ten Italian psychiatric care facilities, to a sample of 671 psychiatric patients (48.5% men; 51.5% women), aged between 18 and 26 years (mean age: 22.24).
8.2% of the sample declared use of NPS at least once in a lifetime and 2.2% have assumed NPS in the last three months. The NPS more used were synthetic cannabinoids (4.5%), followed by methamphetamine (3.6%). The three psychiatric diagnosis with more frequent NPS consumption were bipolar disorder (23.1%), personality disorders (11.8%) and schizophrenia and related disorders (11.6%). Bipolar disorder was associated with NPS consumption (P < .001). Among the illicit drugs investigated, 31.4% of the sample was cannabis smoker and 10.7% cocaine user. Moreover, 70.6% of the sample declared alcohol use and 47.7% had binge drinking conducts. In univariate regression analysis, bipolar disorder was positive associated with binge drinking while obsessive compulsive disorder resulted negative associated.
The use of novel psychoactive substances in a young psychiatric population appears to be a frequent phenomenon, probably still underestimated. Bipolar disorder shows an association with NPS use. Therefore, careful and constant monitoring and accurate evaluations of possible clinical effects related to their use are necessary.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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