Changes in the pattern of opium addiction in Bam after the earthquake

Document Type : Original Article


1 MPH, Head of Research Center of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Professor, Head of Leishmaniasis Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 MSc, Research Center of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

4 MSC, Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Introduction: Opium abuse is a serious public health threat of various magnitudes in Iran and neighboring countries. We conducted this study to explore the rate and intensity of opium addiction in Bam before the earthquake in comparison to the data collected after the earthquake.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in the city of Bam in 2010. We used cluster random sampling method to collect data. This was done through house-to-house visits by a team of trained indigenous health personnel and informants. The status of addiction was achieved through case informants and confirmed by an experienced physician.
Results: Opium addiction was significantly higher in men aged more than 50 (46%), illiterates (29.8%), labors/farmers (51.3%), private (50.7%) and jobless (21.6%) participants. Majority of the addicts (17.1%) were from the suburban areas (17.1%) as compared with those in urban areas (13.6%, P < 0.05). Of the addicts, those with a history of addiction for 3-8 years (P < 0.05), consumed 3-8 g (P < 0.01), two sessions/day (P < 0.05), used opium on a regular basis (P < 0.05) and smoked with Sikh-sang (P < 0.001) showed a significantly higher severity of addiction than the other groups. The mean scores of severity including duration, amount, session, regularity, and consumption device were 2.5, 2.2, 2.4, 1.9 and 2.6, respectively. The overall mean of severity was 2.3 for 226 addicts.
Conclusion: It seems that earthquake is a major traumatic risk factor for such an epidemic condition compared to the previous state of opium addiction. The present findings could be used for future prophylactic measures and therapeutic control strategies. These findings can be applied in clinical practice for active detection of opioid cases and subsequent treatment.


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