Study: Use of psychoactive substances increases among entertainment sector workers

Entertainment sector workers are among those with the highest consumption of psychoactive substances. According to the Addictions study of the year 2017, 17% of the total consume these substances in Spain, a figure which is between France's 22% and Holland's 16%. A study conducted by Nursing degree coordinator for the CEU UCH University in Castellón, Isabel Almodóvar Fernández, has included the participation of 284 stage assembly employees for shows, festivals and events in Spain, of which more than a third are habitual consumers of addictive substances, such as alcohol (36.6%), cannabis (35.2%) and cocaine (1.8%). The motivational nursing intervention program designed by this professor, in collaboration with researchers from the TXP Group of the CEU UCH, has managed to increase awareness on the low quality of life derived from their addictions and on the need to receive treatment. The results of the study were published earlier this week in the most important specialized Nursing scientific journal in the world, the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

The motivational intervention program guided by professor Isabel Almodóvar, as part of her doctoral thesis, includes group therapy designed to achieve objectives such as the acceptance of the addiction by the participants, their preparation before future consumption risk situations, and the adoption of motivational strategies to not consume again.

One of the keys of this motivation is for program participants to become aware of the relation between the addiction and their true state of health and low quality of life, which leads them to seek treatment."

Isabel Almodóvar Fernández, Coordinator,CEU UCH University in Castellón

High consumption of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine
The first part of the study analyzed the drug consumption habits of these 284 employees of the show and event assembly sector, in order to assess the prevalence of the consumption of different substances, as well as their perception of quality of life-related to their state of health, by way of internationally validated tests. With an average age of 30, these employees admitted having consumed alcohol (94.72%) and cannabis (83.45%). 66% of them consume both substances. "Among these professionals who took part in the study, women consume alcohol more frequently than men, while cocaine consumption is more common among men," notes professor Almodóvar.

In the case of alcohol, the average consumption among participants was 52.8 grams of alcohol a day, surpassing the 40 considered the maximum recommended amount by the WHO for men and the 20 for women. Looking at the monthly consumption, the figures of the workers of this sector who took part in the study surpassed the average of the Spanish population in several dimensions: 92% of them has consumed alcohol in the last month, compared to the 25% Spanish average; 74% has consumed cannabis, compared to the 6.6% Spanish average; and 28% has consumed cocaine, compared to the 1% national average, according to data from the Ministry of health for 2015.
According to the CEU UCU professor, "for the three substances, the perception of the risk of consumption is low for over 60% of participants. Only 15 workers said they had not consumed any of the three substances in the last three months."

Motivational nursing intervention
In the second part of the study, a total 50 workers took part, in five groups, in the motivational intervention program headed by Nursing professionals and guided towards getting them to abandon their addiction. These sessions were held in different Spanish Autonomous Communities.
As professor Almodóvar highlights, "before the intervention, 60% of participants stated not having health problems, but after taking part in the program we designed, this figure dropped to 36%. Furthermore, 88% did not admit having an addiction problem, but after the intervention, 12% of participants increased their motivation to quit their drug addiction. Figures like these reveal the efficiency of the Nursing intervention among workers who suffer addictions to psychoactive substances in the sector of entertainment and the assembly of festivals and other events: when they are aware of their low quality of life as it pertains to their health, their motivation to change their behaviour in regard to their addictions increases."
This 12% of effectiveness in the motivation to change, after the intervention with the designed Nursing program, surpasses the 10% threshold set by the WHO as valid for this type of programs.

Work conditions as the cause
Other data of the study shows that there is a relation between drug addiction and the tough work conditions in this sector, with night shifts being alternated with day ones, and which surpass the working day limits and even the limits of their physical endurance. "Their perception on their work conditions is 30% more negative than the average in Spain. In these circumstances, their propensity to consume alcohol, cannabis and cocaine increases," stresses Almodóvar.

Isabel Almodóvar has conducted this study with the collaboration of researchers from the TXP Group of the CEU UCH, headed by Medicine professor Gonzalo Haro, doctor of the Mental Health department of the Hospital Provincial de Castellón. Alongside Isabel Almodóvar and Gonzalo Haro, co-authors of the study are Paula Sánchez Thevenet, Vice-Rector of the Health Sciences department of the CEU UCH in Castellón, Ana Benito, doctor of the Mental Health unit of Torrent, and Abel Barquero, member of the Amigó project in Castellón. Their research has been co-funded by the Hospital Provincial de Castellón foundation.


Asociación RUVID

Journal reference:

Almodóvar, I. et al. (2019) The effectiveness of a brief motivational nursing intervention to reduce psychoactive substance consumption in entertainment‐sector workers: A transversal, observation, and semi‐experimental study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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