Drug Use in Young Adulthood May Lead to a Decline in Health Later
Self-rated general health is highly correlated with important health outcomes including mortality. Researchers investigated the association between self-reported drug use at baseline and self-rated general health 15 years later among 3124 subjects. At baseline, subjects were from 4 U.S. cities, aged 20–32 years, and reported “good” or “excellent” health.
- At baseline, 812 subjects had never used illicit drugs, 1554 had used drugs in the past but not currently, 503 used marijuana only, and 255 used hard drugs (cocaine, amphetamines, opiates).
- Hard drug use at baseline was significantly associated with health decline (report of “fair” or “poor” health) at follow-up (odds ratio [OR] in adjusted analyses, 1.8 versus no hard drug use).
- Cigarette smoking independently predicted health decline (OR, 1.7) and weakened the apparent effect of hard drug use at baseline (OR, 1.2 and no longer statistically significant).
- Neither marijuana use at baseline nor past drug use was significantly associated with health decline at follow-up.