Assessing illicit drug use among adults with schizophrenia

Citation

Van Dorn, R.A., Desmarais, S.L., Scott, Y.M., Sellers, B.G., & Swartz, M.S. (2012). Assessing illicit drug use among adults with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 200 (2-3):228-236.

Abstract

Accurate drug use assessment is vital to understanding the prevalence, course, treatment needs, and outcomes among individuals with schizophrenia because they are thought to remain at long-term risk for negative drug use outcomes, even in the absence of drug use disorder. This study evaluated self-report and biological measures for assessing illicit drug use in the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness study (N=1460). Performance was good across assessment methods, but differed as a function of drug type, measure, and race. With the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R as the criterion, self-report evidenced greater concordance, accuracy and agreement overall, and for marijuana, cocaine, and stimulants specifically, than did urinalysis and hair assays, whereas biological measures outperformed self-report for detection of opiates. Performance of the biological measures was better when self-report was the criterion, but poorer for black compared white participants. Overall, findings suggest that self-report is able to garner accurate information regarding illicit drug use among adults with schizophrenia. Further work is needed to understand the differential performance of assessment approaches by drug type, overall and as a function of race, in this population.