AUTHOR: La Pera G, Carderi A, Marianantoni Z, Lentini M, Taggi F.

INTRODUCTION: Adolescence is one of the periods in which the risk of the initial use of drugs is high. Among the risk factors of first drug use, sexual disorders have been considered one of the possible reasons leading young males to substance abuse and addiction.

AIM: To provide data supporting the “La Pera hypothesis”, according to which, a very large percentage of young males begin to use drugs due to sexual problems.

METHODS: A total of 86 subjects, recruited from 5 drug rehabilitation centers were invited to fill in a questionnaire with their personal data, toxicological history, sexual experiences as well as quality of performances.

RESULTS: Approximately 50% of the entire sample used psychotropic drugs to improve their sexual performance with 30 subjects (34.1%) stating that their sexual disorder had influenced their decision to start taking drugs. Of these 30 subjects, 18 (60%) stated their sexual problem had influenced them a little, while in 8 (26.7%), it had influenced them a lot and in 4 (13.3%) it had been a decisive factor. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction prior to first drug use was greater among subjects whose sexual problems influenced their initial use of drugs compared to the remainder of the sample, the difference being statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS: These data are in accordance with the “La Pera hypothesis” based on the cause/effect relationship between sexual dysfunctions and initial use of drugs. It is urgent to demonstrate that sexual disorders lead to first drug use since sex education and early treatment of sexual dysfunctions could provide an effective tool for the primary prevention of substance abuse in young males.

Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2006 Sep;78(3):101-6.