Patterns of simultaneous polysubstance use in drug using university students.

Simultaneous polysubstance use (SPU) is a common phenomenon, yet little is known about how various substances are used with one another. In the present study 149 drug-using university students completed structured interviews about their use of various substances. For each substance ever used, participants provided details about the type, order and amount of all substances co-administered during its most recent administration. Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis were frequently co-administered with each other and with all other substances. Chi-squared tests revealed that when alcohol was used in combination with any of cannabis, psilocybin, MDMA, cocaine, amphetamine, methylphenidate (ps < 0.01) or LSD (p < 0.05) its initial use preceded the administration of the other substance. Paired samples t-tests revealed that when alcohol was used with cocaine (p < 0.01) or methylphenidate (p < 0.05) it was ingested in greater quantities than when used in their absence. Patterns of cannabis use were not systematically related to other substances administered. Finally, using one-sample t-tests, tobacco use was demonstrated to be increased relative to 'sober' smoking rates when used with alcohol, cannabis, psilocybin, MDMA, cocaine, amphetamine (ps < 0.001), LSD (p < 0.01) or methylphenidate (p < 0.05). Results suggest that many substances are routinely used in a SPU context and that the pattern in which a substance is used may be related to other substances co-administered.