Polysubstance Use Patterns among Justice-Involved Individuals Who Use Opioids [2020]

The current study explores pre-incarceration polysubstance use patterns among a justice-involved population who use opioids. Design: Setting: Data from prison and jail substance use programing in the state of Kentucky from 2015–2017 was examined. Participants: A cohort of 6,569 individuals who reported both pre-incarceration use of opioids and reported the use of more than one substance per day. Measurements: To determine the different typologies of polysubstance use involving opioids, latent profile analysis of the pre-incarceration thirty-day drug use of eight substances was conducted. Multinomial logistic regression predicted latent profile membership. Findings: Six unique profiles of polysubstance use involving opioids and other substances were found; Primarily Alcohol (9.4%), Primarily Heroin (19.0%), Less Polysubstance Use (34.3%), Tranquilizer Polysubstance Use (16.3%), Primarily Buprenorphine (7.8%), and Stimulant-Opioid (13.2%). Profiles differed by rural/urban geography, injection drug use, physical, and mental health symptoms. Conclusion: Findings indicate the heterogeneity of opioid use among a justice-involved population. More diverse polysubstance patterns may serve as a proxy to identifying individuals with competing physical and mental health needs. Future interventions could be tailored to polysubstance patterns during the period of justice-involvement.

Amanda M. Bunting, Carrie Oser, Michele Staton & Hannah Knudsen
Substance Use & Misuse, Volume 55, 2020 – Issue 13