Use transition between illegal drugs among Brazilian university students

João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, Silvia S. Martins, Lúcio Garcia De Oliveira, Margriet Van Laar, Arthur Guerra De Andrade, Sergio Nicastri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to test whether the first use of an illicit drug increases the chance of first use of other illicit drugs. Method: The transitions from the first use of a drug to the first use of another drug were analyzed. Comparisons were made between first drug users and non-users. Survival analysis methods were used to compare the cumulative probability of second drug use after adjusting for socio-demographic covariates and the intermediate use of alcohol and/or tobacco. A total of 12,721 Brazilian university students participated in this study. Results: Inhalants and marijuana were used prior to the use of several other drugs, whereas the opposite pattern was not found. Ecstasy was used before other drugs in several instances. Other well-examined drugs, such as amphetamines, cocaine and hallucinogens, were used both before and after other illicit drugs without any marked predominance for either of the two roles. Conclusions: This study supports the role of the use of marijuana and inhalants almost exclusively before the use of other illicit drugs, whereas the use of ecstasy has an opposite role. These roles could be linked to the prevalence of lifetime use and whether individuals were at an earlier or later age during experimentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-394
Number of pages10
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cox survival regression
  • Illegal drugs
  • University students
  • Use transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology


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