Risk factors for concurrent use of benzodiazepines and opioids among individuals under community corrections supervision

Academic Article


  • Background: The use of heroin and prescription opioids has increased over the past decade. The concurrent use of opioids with other depressants such as benzodiazepines increases the risk of overdose death compared with use of either drug alone. This study examined factors associated with concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines in a criminal justice sample in the state of Alabama. Methods: The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and urine drug screen results from 28,570 individuals who were under community corrections supervision from 2002-2012 were examined for independent or concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine associations between socio-demographic characteristics and drug use. Results: Concurrent use was detected in 11.5% of the sample. Concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines or use of either drug alone was associated with being White, female, married, prescribed psychiatric medications, having seen a physician in the past two years, cannabis use, and having a drug-related offense. Concurrent users were more likely to be unemployed or disabled and have received counseling, and less likely to have completed college, live with relatives or friends, have a history of hallucinations, or have an offense against a person relative to nonusers. Discussion: While significant overlap of risk factors exists between individuals with concurrent use versus sole use of opioids or benzodiazepines, individuals with concurrent use generally have more social dysfunction than individuals who tested for either substance alone. Concurrent users may need more psychosocial resources and intensive treatments to promote recovery.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cropsey KL; Stevens EN; Valera P; Brendan Clark C; Bulls HW; Nair P; Lane PS
  • Start Page

  • 152
  • End Page

  • 157
  • Volume

  • 154