Novel psychoactive substance use among treatment-seeking opiate users: The role of life events and psychiatric symptoms

Máté Kapitány-Fövény, Judit Farkas, Patrícia Andrea Pataki, Anna Kiss, Janka Horváth, Róbert Urbán, Zsolt Demetrovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Over the past 5 years, a shift to the use of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) has been observed among opioid users. The aim of this study was to assess the potential reasons for NPS use among treatment-seeking patients receiving opiate substitution therapy. Method: A structured questionnaire was filled out by a sample of 198 opiate dependent patients of Hungary's National Institute of Psychiatry and Addiction. This questionnaire assessed demographics, treatment characteristics, lifetime substance use, potential reasons for NPS use, negative life events (Life Events Scale), and psychiatric symptoms (Brief Symptom Inventory). Results: The most frequent reasons for NPS use were curiosity, replacing other drugs, and easy availability. The majority of the respondents used synthetic cathinones and chose practical reasons, not psychopharmacological preferences. A series of binary logistic regressions indicated that lifetime amphetamine use (OR = 4.64, 95% CI [2.16, 9.96]) and more severe psychiatric symptoms (OR = 1.89, 95% CI [1.18, 3.04]) may predict NPS use. Time spent in treatment was a minor protective factor (OR = 0.92, 95% CI [0.86, 0.99]). Conclusion: Synthetic cathinones might still substitute amphetamine-derivatives, although these NPS are no longer legal. There is a need for the regular screening of psychiatric symptoms and the use of family therapy among participants on opioid substitution programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2602
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • NPS
  • life events
  • methadone
  • psychiatric symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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