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September 1974

Changing Patterns of Multiple Drug Use Among Applicants to a Multimodality Drug Treatment Program

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, and the Drug Dependence Unit, Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(3):408-413. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760150110016

In response to growing clinical concern about polydrug abuse, we report an analysis of changing patterns of multiple drug use among applicants to the Drug Dependence Unit of the Connecticut Mental Health Center during the years 1970 through 1973.

The analysis, which subdivides applicants into four time cohorts according to when they began using drugs (before 1964, 1966, 1969, and 1972), discloses that polydrug abuse, if this means using a number of drugs, is not a new phenomenon and does not appear to be increasing. What seems to have changed is that the use of heroin, and to some extent cocaine, has declined, as has also the association between heroin use and the use of other drugs.

If this trend continues, we think it will make treatment more difficult since, in our experience, nonopiate users are more difficult to treat successfully.