Longitudinal associations between age 20 problematic substance use and opioid use disorder incidence at age 30 – findings from an urban cohort

doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2023.01.033.

Online ahead of print.


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Johannes Thrul et al.

J Psychiatr Res.



This study used data from a longitudinal prevention study in an urban cohort to examine associations between nicotine dependence, alcohol, and cannabis use disorder and disorder criteria at age 20, with opioid use disorder (OUD) incidence or criteria onset by age 30. The study sample included 1408 participants (57.5% female, 72.5% African American) drawn from two cohorts of participants in a mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. as part of a series of randomized controlled trials of elementary school-based universal prevention interventions. Lifetime cannabis use disorder (CUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD; both DSM-IV), and current nicotine dependence (Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence, FTND) assessed at age 20 were used to predict (1) DSM-IV lifetime OUD at age 30, and (2) OUD criteria between ages 20 and 30 in multivariable logistic regression models. Covariates for all analyses included sociodemographics (sex, race, and free/reduced-priced lunch status), community disadvantage, and intervention status. Nicotine dependence (FTND≥3) at age 20 predicted age 30 DSM-IV lifetime OUD (aOR = 2.37; 95% CI 1.02,5.54). The number of CUD criteria (aOR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.09,1.57) and nicotine dependence severity scores (aOR = 1.22; 95% CI = 1.05,1.41) at age 20 predicted any OUD criteria between the ages of 20 and 30. Findings are consistent with previous research on opioid use behavior in young adulthood and suggest that nicotine dependence and CUD criteria among urban young people predict onset of OUD and OUD criteria in young adulthood.


Alcohol use disorder; Cannabis; Nicotine dependence; Opioid use disorder; Urban cohort.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of competing interest No potential conflict of interest reported by the author(s).

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