Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Elif Mutlu, Arash Alaei, Melissa Tracy*, Katherine Waye, Mustafa Kemal Cetin, Kamiar Alaei



Background: The number of individuals seeking treatment for drug use has been increasing in recent years in Turkey. However, existing research on patterns and risk factors for drug use and how they vary by age and location in Turkey is limited. Methods: We examined the socio-demographic characteristics, drug use behaviors, and treatment history of citizens admitted to inpatient substance use treatment at public and private facilities in Turkey during 2012 and 2013 and identified correlates of lifetime and current injection drug use. Results: Of the 11,247 patients at the 22 public treatment centers in 2012–2013, a majority were male, lived with family, were unemployed, and had an average age of 27 years. Within private clinics (n = 663), a higher proportion was female (9.7% private vs. 5.7% public), aged 11–17 years old (13% vs. 7.4%), used cannabis as their primary drug (18.4% vs. 13.2%), and had previously received drug treatment (57% vs. 47.2%). Within public centers, 40.4% reported ever injecting drugs and 33.7% reported injecting in the past 30 days; the corresponding percentages at private clinics were 22.5% and 18.1%. Significant predictors of injection drug use included being homeless, being a temporal employee or unemployed, having higher education, heroin as a preferred drug, having a longer duration of drug use, and prior drug treatment. Conclusion: Prevention and intervention efforts are needed to reduce the transition to heroin and injection drug use among youth as well as improve access to a variety of drug treatment options for people who use substances in Turkey.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff