Past-year gambling behaviour among patients receiving opioid substitution treatment

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Abstract

Background: Substance abuse and gambling problems are associated, however, studies on gambling problems among opioid substitution treatment (OST) patients are scarce. The aims of this study are to explore the association of gender, age, treatment medication and treatment program with gambling behaviour, including gambling participation and gambling problems, among OST patients. Findings: All OST patients (n = 244) in three Finnish outpatient clinics were recruited in March - April 2014. The response rate was 64.3%. OST programs included two choices of orientation (rehabilitative/harm reduction) and two choices for treatment medication (methadone/buprenorphine-naloxone). Of 144 respondents, 70.1% had gambled during the past year and 12.5% were identified as potential past-year problem gamblers. Gambling was statistically significant more commonly among males (79.8%) compared with females (53.7%). Similarly patients in the rehabilitative program gambled (75.9%) more than those in the harm reduction program (50.0%). Gender, age, treatment medication or treatment program was not associated with past-year gambling problems. Conclusions: Gambling participation of the OST patients seemed to be somewhat similar compared with the Finnish general population, but gambling problems were more common among OST patients. Gender and age may not be very strong indicators of risk while screening problem gamblers among OST patients. Institution of a problem gambling screening program is recommended, and additional intervention for gambling problems should be implemented for that need as a part of OST.

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Castrén, S., Salonen, A. H., Alho, H., Lahti, T., & Simojoki, K. (2015). Past-year gambling behaviour among patients receiving opioid substitution treatment. Substance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1747-597X-10-4

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