Alcohol use among out-of-treatment crack using African-American women.
The purpose of this study was to categorize the quantity and frequency of alcohol use among African-American women who were abusing crack cocaine and to explore relationships between categories of alcohol use and demographic variables, cocaine use, comorbidity, and risky sexual behaviors.
Data were collected from 635 out-of-treatment crack cocaine-abusing African-American women in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina. The women were categorized as light (n = 272), moderate (n = 216), or heavy drinkers (n = 147).
Women classified as heavy drinkers were demographically similar to light and moderate drinkers. Heavy drinkers used more crack cocaine and were more likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors than were the other two drinking groups. The heavy drinkers also reported greater psychological distress, and they were more likely to report histories of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Heavy alcohol use among crack-abusing African-American women may be a marker for a host of underlying problems that require special attention. The HIV prevention programs and substance abuse treatment programs that provide services to crack-abusing women should screen for heavy drinking. Women identified as heavy drinkers should undergo more in-depth assessments and receive additional referrals as appropriate.
Zule, WA; Flannery, BA; Wechsberg, WM; Lam, WK
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