Immigration Status and Substance Use Disorder-Related Mortality in Sweden

Objectives: First-generation immigrants, in many countries, are healthier than their native counterparts. This study examined the association between first- and second-generation immigrant status and alcohol- or drugs other than alcohol-related (primarily opioids) mortality for those with risky substance use.

Methods: A Swedish longitudinal, 2003 to 2017, registry study combined Addiction Severity Index (ASI) assessment data with mortality data (n = 15 601). Due to missing data, the analysis sample for this study was 15 012. Multivariate models tested the relationship between immigration status and drugs other than alcohol or alcohol-related mortality, controlling for demographics and the 7 ASI composite scores (CS).

Results: Age, a higher ASI CS for alcohol, a lower ASI CS family and social relationship, a lower ASI CS for drug use and a higher ASI CS for health significantly predicted mortality because of alcohol-related causes. Higher ASI CS for drugs other than alcohol, employment, and health, age, male sex, and immigration status predicted drugs other than alcohol, related mortality. Individuals born in Nordic countries, excluding Sweden, were 1.76 times more likely to die of drugs other than alcohol compared with their Swedish counterparts. Individuals born outside a Nordic country (most common countries: Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Chile) were 61% less likely to die of drugs other than alcohol compared with their Swedish counterparts. Those with parents born outside Nordic countries were 54% less likely to die of drugs other than alcohol.

Discussion: Research is needed on why people with risky substance use from Nordic countries (not Sweden) residing in Sweden, have higher mortality rates because of drugs other than alcohol (primarily opioids drugs other than alcohol compared with the other population groups in our study). Findings indicate that ASI CSs are strong predictors of future health problems including mortality due to alcohol and other drug-related causes.

Lundgren et al. J Addict Med
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