Alcohol confounds relationship between cannabis misuse and psychosis conversion in a high-risk sample

Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, January 2015

Objective:
Cannabis use has been examined as a predictor of psychosis in clinical high-risk (CHR) samples, but little is known about the impact of other substances on this relationship.

Method:
Substance use was assessed in a large sample of CHR participants (N = 370, mean age = 18.3) enrolled in the multisite North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study Phase 1 project. Three hundred and forty-one participants with cannabis use data were divided into groups: No Use (NU, N = 211); Cannabis Use without impairment (CU, N = 63); Cannabis Abuse/Dependence (CA/CD, N = 67). Participants (N = 283) were followed for ≥2 years to determine psychosis conversion.

Results:
Alcohol (45.3%) and cannabis (38.1%) were the most common substances. Cannabis use groups did not differ on baseline attenuated positive symptoms. Seventy-nine of 283 participants with cannabis and follow-up data converted to psychosis. Survival analysis revealed significant differences between conversion rates in the CA/CD group compared with the No Use (P = 0.031) and CU group (P = 0.027). CA/CD also significantly predicted psychosis in a regression analysis, but adjusting for alcohol use weakened this relationship.

Conclusion:
The cannabis misuse and psychosis association was confounded by alcohol use. Non-impairing cannabis use was not related to psychosis. Results highlight the need to control for other substance use, so as to not overstate the cannabis/psychosis connection.

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Specialist substance misuse treatment for young people in England 2013-14

Public Health England, January 2015

This paper reports on the statistics for children and young people using alcohol and drugs, the numbers attending specialist substance misuse services in 2013-14 and the outcomes.

The headlines:
• 19,126 young people received help for alcohol or drug problems
• 71% had cannabis as their main problem drug
• 79% of young people left services having successfully completed their
treatment

Click here to download the full report.

One New Drug a Week: Why novel psychoactive substances and club drugs need a different response from UK treatment providers

Royal College of Pscyhiatrists, September 2014

This report gives an overview of how drug use in the UK is changing and outlines the changes in services required to meet the needs of drug users.

Click here to view the full report.