Using Crowdsourcing to Study the Differential Effects of Cross-Drug Withdrawal for Cigarettes and Opioids in a Behavioral Economic Demand Framework

Mark J. Rzeszutek, Cassandra D. Gipson-Reichardt, Brent A. Kaplan, Mikhail N. Koffarnus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Smoking rates among those who use prescribed or recreational opioids are significantly higher than the general population. Hypothesized neuropharmacological interactions between opioids and nicotine may contribute to this pattern of polysubstance use, especially during withdrawal. However, little research has examined how the withdrawal of one substance may affect the consumption of the other (i.e., cross-drug withdrawal effects). Behavioral economic demand tasks (e.g., hypothetical purchase tasks) can be used to quickly assess the value of a drug. Crowdsourcing can be a convenient tool to gain preliminary insight into different processes in substance valuation that may otherwise be impossible or prohibitively difficult to study. The purpose of the present study was to provide a preliminary examination of the effects of hypothetical withdrawal of cigarettes and opioids on the consumption of those drugs among polysubstance users. Amazon Mechanical Turk workers who reported daily smoking and at least monthly opioid use completed a series of hypothetical purchase tasks for doses of opioids and cigarettes under various withdrawal conditions. Sensitivity to the price of both drugs decreased when under withdrawal for either, indicating a higher drug value of cigarettes and opioids due to effects of cross-drug withdrawal. Nicotine and opioid dependence severity, impulsive choice, and riskiness were also positively related to drug purchasing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-465
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by institutional funds at Virginia Tech to Mikhail N. Koffarnus and Mark J. Rzeszutek’s time was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01 AA026605 to Mikhail N. Koffarnus. 100% of this research was supported by federal or state money with no financial or nonfinancial support from nongovernmental sources. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The funding source did not have a role in writing this article or in the decision to submit it for publication. All authors had full access to the data in this study and the corresponding author had final responsibility for the decision to submit these data for publication. Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Cassandra D. Gipson-Reichardt, and Brent A. Kaplan designed the experiment. Brent A. Kaplan collected the data. Mark J. Rzeszutek and Brent A. Kaplan analyzed the data. Mark J. Rzeszutek drafted the article. All authors assisted with data interpretation and approved the final version of the article. All authors have no known conflicts of interest to disclose. Data, code, and materials are available upon request. This study was not preregistered. Portions of these data were presented at 2020 American Psychological Association Annual Convention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Psychological Association


  • Behavioral economics
  • Cigarettes
  • Opioid use
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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