Depression increases cocaine/crack risk

July 14, 2011 at 11:19 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I., July 14 (UPI) -- Women clinically depressed when they enter drug court run a substantially higher risk of using crack cocaine within four months afterward, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, suggests addressing depression may reduce the number of women who fail to stop using crack.

"We found that current major depression increased the risk of crack use, but depression in the past year that had gotten better did not," lead author Jennifer Johnson, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says in a statement. "This suggests that if the depression remits, the risk of crack use goes down. Screening for depression and effective depression treatment may be important components of drug court services."

Addiction and depression are closely associated, but it isn't clear how the two affect each other, especially at an urgent moment such as entry into the court system, Johnson says.

The study found depressed women had nearly four times the odds of using crack during follow-up compared to women who had been depressed at some point in their past, while the odds were nearly six times greater compared to women who were depressed within the last year, but not currently.

It doesn't matter if they've been depressed in the past," Johnson says, "only how they're doing right now."

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