Author : I. Saleh, Aqeel
The Medical Journal of Basrah University,
2013, Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 34-42
Background: Abuse of psychoactive drugs is common worldwide. The WHO has plans to halt the problems. To be effective, such plans need information on the pattern of abuse, which is scanty in Iraq.
Objectives: To study the pattern of drug abuse in Basrah by types of drugs and characteristics of abusers, to elucidate the risk factors and its relation to psychiatric illnesses and to evaluate immunoassay test for drug detection in urine.
Method: This is an observational study on patients attending psychiatric clinic in Basrah journal Hospital and hospital workers. Interview, questionnaire form, and urine samples for screening for drugs of abuse using immunoassay multi-drug panel test.
Results: Two hundreds and six subjects (59 patients, 96 health workers, and 51 volunteers for validation studies) were included. Forty-four percent of patients were manual workers, 20% were unemployed, and eighty-eight percent of them were smokers. Half of the patients have pure drug abuse, while the others have co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Personality disorder was the most commonly associated disease. Abuse of more than one drug reported by 66% of patients. Benzodiazepines abuse was reported by 78% of patients followed by opioids in 56% and centrally acting anticholinergics in 48% of patients. Fourteen percent of patients denied abuse. Sixty four percent of patients had moderate to substantial abuse severity score. Of the 96 health workers 12(12.5%) subjects were found positive mainly for benzodiazepines followed by tramadol.
Conclusions: The problem of drug abuse affects young age group and psychiatric patients and involved mainly pharmaceuticals and lead sometimes to psychiatric consultation.