Research indicates an association between substance use and premature death and that misuse of illicit drugs is more closely linked to mortality than alcohol misuse. Given that these studies often are based on homogeneous treatment populations, we sought to analyse long-term mortality among both alcohol and drug misusers in a representative treatment system sample by examining: (1) excess death ratios (SMR, standardised mortality ratio) in comparison with the general population and (2) risk factors for mortality within the sample.
Prospective study (N = 1659; 28% women) interviewed when starting treatment in Stockholm County, 2000–2002, and followed-up with regard to mortality up to 8 years after baseline. Analyses were based on death certificates and intake interview data (demographics, social situation/support, ICD-10 alcohol/drug dependence, treatment experiences). The strength of the study is the prospective design, that we have been able to link mortality to interview data, and to reach a heterogeneous treatment population.
(1) SMR was 5.7 (no sex difference). (2) Logistic regression showed that being older, male, retired and having reported living with a substance misuser were identified as risk factors for mortality within the sample. Housing organised by authorities and no dependence on alcohol/drugs were protective factors. The mortality risk did not differ between alcohol and drug-dependent cases. Neither was homelessness, living situation (3 years) nor education predictive of mortality.
No difference regarding mortality risk between treated alcohol and drug-dependent patients in Sweden is found when controlling for age.
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