Medical multimorbidity and drug use among adults in the United States

Benjamin H. Han, Domenic J. Termine, Alison A. Moore, Scott E. Sherman, Joseph J. Palamar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adults with medical multimorbidity (≥2 chronic conditions) present challenges for health care systems to provide coordinated care. Substance use can complicate the management of chronic medical conditions, but little research has focused on the intersection of medical multimorbidity and substance use. This study uses cross-sectional analysis of 115,335 adult respondents of the 2012–2014 administrations of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to estimate the prevalence and correlates of past-year drug use among adults with multimorbidity. The prevalence of past-year drug use was compared between individuals reporting 0, 1, and ≥2 chronic medical conditions. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine correlates of past-year drug use among adults with ≥2 chronic medical conditions. 53.1% reported no chronic conditions, 29.5% reported one chronic condition, and 17.4% reported ≥2 chronic conditions. Past-year drug use was reported by 18.3% of those with no chronic conditions, 14.8% with 1 chronic condition, and 11.6% with ≥2 chronic conditions. Cannabis and opioid analgesics (nonmedical use) were the most common drugs used across all three groups. In the adjusted model, among adults with medical multimorbidity, adults with past-year drug use were more likely to be younger, male, have lower income, and report current tobacco use, alcohol dependence, past-year depression, and having received mental health treatment in the past year. In this national cohort, fewer adults with multimorbidity reported substance use compared to adults with no or one chronic condition, however, this population with high multimorbidity may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of drug use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Chronic disease
  • Multimorbidity
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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