Background: The prevalence of opium addiction in Iran is high probably due to the belief that opium has preventive effects against cardiovascular diseases. In the second phase of Kerman coronary artery disease risk factors study, the prevalence, incidence rate, and the association between opium use and other coronary artery disease risk factors (CADRFs) were assessed.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study (2014-2018), 9996 inhabitants of Kerman, southeastern Iran, aged 15-80 years were recruited to the study. After taking fasting blood samples, the participants were examined or interviewed for demographic data and CADRFs, including opium use. The participants were categorized into “never”, “occasional”, and “dependent” users. The association between opium use and CADRFs was assessed with adjusted regression analysis (Stata v.11 software).
Results: The overall prevalence of opium consumption was lower than that of five years earlier (P<0.01). The prevalence was currently higher in men than women and decreased in men between the two phases (P<0.001). There was a positive correlation between opium use and depression (P<0.001) and anxiety (P<0.05) and a negative association with the level of physical activity (P<0.001). The five-year incident rate of dependent and occasional opium use was 4.2 and 3.9 persons/100 person-years, respectively. The incidence of opium use was higher in diabetic, hypertensive, depressed, anxious, and obese subjects.
Conclusion: The study did not demonstrate any protective effects of opium on CADRFs. Considering the higher rate of opium use in subjects with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and psychological disorders, the health authorities should implement education programs to warn and correct the unsafe belief.