Substance use in the club scene of Rome: a pilot study

Alessandro Vento, Giovanni Martinotti, Eduardo Cinosi, Matteo Lupi, Tiziano Acciavatti, Dario Carrus, Rita Santacroce, Eleonora Chillemi, Ludovica Bonifaci, Massimo di Giannantonio, Ornella Corazza, Fabrizio Schifano

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Over the last few years, a wide number of unregulated substances have been marketed on the Web and in smart and head shops; they are usually advertised as legal alternatives to commonly known drugs and are defined as “smart drugs,” “legal highs,” and “novel psychoactive substances” (NPS). Aim of our work is to describe use habits and distribution of NPS in a population of young adults in Rome club scene. Methods. A self-administered questionnaire was proposed to subjects over 18 years of age at the entrance of 5 nightclubs in Rome. Socioeconomic characteristics and substance use were investigated. Results. Preliminary results give evidence that 78% of respondents have a lifetime history of NPS use. In addition, 56% of the sample has consumed illicit drugs in the past and 39% has used psychoactive substances in the 12 hours preceding the questionnaire administration. Conclusions. A significant proportion of subjects report use of novel psychoactive substances; traditional illicit drugs consumption, particularly cocaine, appears to be very high as well in the club scene. These data highlight a serious public health challenge, since pharmacological, toxicological, and psychopathological effects linked to interactions among all these substances may be unpredictable and sometimes fatal in vulnerable individuals
Original languageEnglish
Article number617546
Number of pages5
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014


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