Consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana among New York City residents six months after the September 11 terrorist attacks

David Vlahov, Sandro Galea, Jennifer Ahern, Heidi Resnick, Joseph A. Boscarino, Joel Gold, Michael Bucuvalas, Dean Kilpatrick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Early analyses following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City showed an increase in cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use, but it was unknown whether these increases would persist. A random-digit dial phone survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of increased substance use among residents of New York City six to nine months after the attacks. Among 1570 adults, 9.9% reported an increase in smoking, 17.5% an increase in alcohol use, and 2.7% an increase in marijuana use compared to the month before September 11. These increases were comparable to increases reported in the first one to two months after September 11. Persons who increased use of cigarettes were more likely than those who did not to report symptoms consistent with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past month (4.3% and 1.2% respectively). Depression was more common among those who increased use of cigarettes (14.6% and 5.2% respectively), alcohol (11.8% vs. 5.2%), and marijuana (34.1% vs. 5.3%). Among residents living in Manhattan below One Hundred Tenth Street, the prevalence of PTSD and depression declined by more than half in the first six months after September 11, while the increase in substance use did not decline substantially. These results suggest that the increase in substance use after a disaster may be a cause for public health concern in the long-term.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)385-407
    Number of pages23
    JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
    Volume30
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 28 2004

    Keywords

    • Alcohol
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Disaster
    • Marijuana
    • Posttraumatic stress disorder
    • Substance use

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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