Validation of Heroin Craving Questionnaire in Greek Patients under Substitution Treatment with Methadone and Buprenorphine: How to Prevent a Relapse
Craving is a diagnostic criterion for substance use disorders. It is referred to as a subjective desire of relapsing to the use of a psychoactive substance after a time period of abstinence and it affects physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral parameters. Craving is inextricably linked to heroin addictive patients and usually known in the literature Heroin Craving Questionnaire (HCQ) is used for assessing their progress. Therefore, this study aimed to validate the multidimensional HCQ that measures five items (i.e., desire to use heroin, intentions and plans to use heroin, the anticipation of a positive outcome, relief from withdrawal or dysphoria and lack of control over use) by examining its internal consistency and the concurrent validity.
In total 258 Greek patients who were under substitution treatment for drug dependency were included in the investigation. This is the first study to implement the HCQ in the evaluation of craving in former heroin patients under methadone and buprenorphine administration. Our findings indicate that the specific HCQ in the Greek language has been successfully validated exerting reliability and validity. Thus, its implementation in research settings is advocated. Most importantly, it can constitute a useful tool for clinicians as a comprehensive method for the detection of craving symptoms, thus helping in better identifying former opioid using patients in an enhanced risk for relapse.