Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jan 2017
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Prince George Citizen
Page: 3


Tobacco-related illnesses account for a surprisingly large number of
deaths among individuals diagnosed with alcohol- and drug-use disorders,
according to a University of Northern British Columbia study.

A team led by Russ Callaghan, an associate professor in UNBC's Northern
Medical Program, looked at statewide linked hospital and death records in
California over a 16-year period - from 1990 to 2005 - and found 40-to-50
per cent of deaths in the alcohol and drug groups were smoking-related.

"The prevalence of smoking is extremely high among people with
substance-use disorders, approximately two to four times higher than in
the general population," Callaghan said.

"However, tobacco use in this population has usually been overlooked as an
important clinical concern, and there is only limited research examining
the impacts of smoking-related deaths in these groups.

"Our study is one of the first to show extremely-elevated levels of
smoking-related mortality among individuals with primary substance-use
disorders related to alcohol, cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine, or
marijuana use.

"The results highlight the importance of addressing nicotine dependence as
a key clinical concern and integrating smoking-cessation options into
treatment protocols for these individuals."

According to a UNBC press release, concurrent treatment for nicotine
dependence and alcohol and drug disorders is considered best practice. But
most treatment centres do not provide it, due to a lack of resources and
capacity to train staff or an unfounded belief that smoking cessation may
hinder recovery from alcohol-or drug-use disorders.
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