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The health of people attending residential treatment for alcohol and other drug use: Prevalence of and risks for major lifestyle diseases

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posted on 2023-11-20, 06:19 authored by Isabella IngramIsabella Ingram, FP Deane, AL Baker, CJ Townsend, CE Collins, R Callister, R Chenhall, R Ivers, PJ Kelly
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease and cancers are the leading cause of mortality amongst people accessing treatment for alcohol and other drug use. The current study aimed to examine risk factors for chronic disease amongst people attending residential alcohol and other drug treatment services. Methods: Participants (N = 325) were attending residential alcohol and other drug treatment services across Australia. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk scores were calculated using established risk estimation algorithms. Differences in existing health conditions, risk factors for chronic diseases and risk algorithms were calculated for males and females. Results: In addition to alcohol and other drug use (including tobacco use), 95% of the sample had at least one other risk factor for chronic disease. Of participants not already diagnosed, 36% were at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and 11% had a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The heart age of participants was 11 years older than actual age (Mage = 40.63, Mheart age = 52.41). Males had a higher cardiovascular disease risk than females. Discussion and Conclusions: A large proportion of people accessing residential alcohol and other drug treatment were at risk of chronic disease. Future research is needed that uses objective indicators of physical health. Such research will help to develop our understanding of prevention and intervention initiatives that could be adopted by treatment providers to improve the physical health of their consumers.


Cancer Institute, NSW (Grant Number 12/ECF/2–15) and the Heart Foundation Australia, Vanguard Grant (Grant Number 100252).


Publication Date



Drug and Alcohol Review






(p. 1723-1732)





Rights Statement

© 2023 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.