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Clinical Trial finds Co-Using Substances not a factor in Opioid Abuse Treatment


Clinical trial finds that opioid abuse treatment is not negatively affected by co-using other substances

Polysubstance use is one of the most pressing issues of the United States' current overdose crisis. Polysubstance use includes the unique patterns of substance use involving more than one substance (drug and/or alcohol) and can include substances used at the same time, regular patterns, or intervals.

A clinical trial has investigated the effect of polysubstance use on the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder. Polysubstance use, or the use of multiple substances, is a common issue among individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD), and it can complicate treatment efforts.

Since 2003, deaths involving multiple substances have been increasing with the most notable increases among people who co-use opioids with other stimulants. However, clinical studies on how polysubstance use may or may not affect the treatment of opioid use disorders have been greatly lacking.

Clinical Trial

A clinical trial examines the prevalence of polysubstance use among patients undergoing medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), and how it affected their treatment outcomes.

The trial involved 474 patients undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder who were also using other drugs such as binge alcohol, sedatives, cocaine, amphetamines, and cannabis. The researchers used drug screening tests to identify the presence of opioids and these 5 other substances before and during treatment. These patients were followed for 24 weeks to detect opioid relapse and self-reported opioid craving despite medical treatment.

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The results showed that the majority of patients were unemployed, single, white, and male, and had an average age of 34. Before treatment, 36% of the participants reported using one non-opioid substance while 28% of patients reported using 2 non-opioid substances. A minority of participants (23 %) reported that more than one substance was currently a major problem for them.

The clinical trial also demonstrated that polysubstance use did not have a significant effect on opioid relapse or craving. This means that polysubstance use during treatment was not associated with poorer treatment outcomes. Patients who used other substances during treatment had similar rates of treatment adherence and retention compared to those who were not using non-opioid substances.

Pretreatment polysubstance use was not a particularly important indicator of relapse or craving at 24 weeks, with only a small effect noted with sedative use.


The clinical trial highlights the prevalence of polysubstance use among patients undergoing medical treatment for opioid abuse and its impact on treatment outcomes. It shows that the use of other non-opioid recreational drugs does not result in opioid abuse treatment failure and hence, medical therapy should not be withheld for such patients.
If you are suffering from any drug use disorder, it is important to consult a medical health professional for advice on the appropriate treatment for you.

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.