“Heavy Users,” “Controlled Users,” and “Quitters”: Understanding Patterns of Crack Use Among Women in a Midwestern City

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Over the past two decades, the use of crack cocaine has become an enduring part of the social ecology of many cities across the United States. The purpose of this exploratory study is to describe patterns of crack use drawing on life history interviews conducted with 18 women in Dayton, Ohio, between 1998 and 2000. Ten of the women were African American, and eight were white. Age ranged between 23 and 47. The women were at very different stages of their crack-cocaine careers. We focus on understanding the social factors, life history, and everyday circumstances that participants related to their current patterns and levels of crack use. Implications for intervention are discussed.



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