Primary addictive substances used among patients treated in a hospital-based addiction medicine service

Daniel Feingold, Shaul Lev-Ran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This study sought to explore the differences in primary addictive substances used among individuals referred to an ambulatory hospital-based addiction service in Israel according to sex, age and source of referral. Method: Data were drawn from all referral forms received during a two-year period (N=140). Categories of primary addictive substances included alcohol, drugs (cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, illicit stimulants and heroin) and medications (prescription opioids, prescription stimulants and benzodiazepines). Sources of referral included physicians, non-medical health professionals and self-referral. Results: Among individuals referred to treatment, the most frequent categories of addictive substances were drugs (39%), followed by medications (38%) and alcohol (23%). Among those referred by a physician, the most common category of addictive substances was medications (45%), whereas among those referred by non-medical health professionals the most common category was drugs (61%). Significant (p<0.05) sex differences were found in primary addictive substances: men most commonly reported using drugs while women most commonly reported using medications. Individuals seeking treatment for drug use disorders were significantly younger (mean age = 34.3±12.4) than those seeking treatment for alcohol or prescription-medication use disorders (41.2±13.4 and 43.6±13.5, respectively). Conclusions: Age, sex and source of referral should be taken into consideration when screening for primary addictive substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


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