A Comparison of Trauma Profiles among Individuals with Prescription Opioid, Nicotine, or Cocaine Dependence

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Background and Objectives

Exposure to traumatic events is common among individuals with substance use disorders. Little is known, however, about the trauma histories among individuals with various types of addiction.


The present study compared the trauma histories (general, sexual, physical and emotional) of non-treatment seeking outpatients dependent on prescription opioids (n = 41), nicotine (n = 87) or cocaine (n = 73). The Life Stressor Checklist—Revised (LSC-R) was completed by participants to assess childhood and adult trauma.


The findings revealed that all three groups endorsed high levels of trauma exposure, with 96.5% of the entire sample experiencing at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. The prescription opiate group experienced a greater number of general and total traumas than the nicotine group. However, no group differences in the number of emotional, physical, or sexual traumas were revealed. The prescription opiate group reported a younger age of first traumatic event than the cocaine group, and was significantly more likely to report childhood traumatic events than both the cocaine and nicotine groups.

Conclusions and Scientific Significance

The findings provide clinically relevant information that may help improve screening, interventions, and preventative efforts. (Am J Addict 2013;22:127-131)

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