To analyse drug consumption patterns and demographic and medical factors associated with health-related quality of life (HRQL) in a nonclinical sample of regular cocaine consumers.
Face-to-face interviews with 687 young regular cocaine users (aged 18–30 years) in three Spanish cities: Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. HRQL was measured using the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), and degree of dependence through the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS). Bivariate analyses were conducted using nonparametric techniques, and a Tobit regression analysis was carried out to determine which variables best explained HRQL.
Most participants showed a good HRQL, but differences in HRQL were found for sociodemographic (gender), medical (days stayed in bed during the previous 12 months) and consumption-pattern related variables (length of drug use, intravenous drug use, crack use, SDS). In multivariate analyses cocaine dependence measured by SDS explained the greatest amount of HRQL variation. Although women declared worse HRQL (13.6 versus 9.7, P < 0.01), in the final model with interactions no gender differences were observed, except that HRQL for women worsened with the number of days they had stayed in bed in the previous 12 months.
Even in early phases of dependence, deterioration in HRQL is observed, mainly related to drug-use history and patterns.