Comparison of African-American Adolescent Crack Cocaine Users and Nonusers: Background Factors in Drug Use and HIV Sexual Risk Behaviors

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A group of African-American male and female adolescents between 13 and 18 years of age (N = 58) was recruited by street outreach in San Francisco's Bayview Hunter's Point. By self-report, 22 (38%) were crack users and 36 (62%) were non–crack users. Each respondent was interviewed in depth. What appeared to distinguish non–crack users from crack users prior to their drug use was the long-term quality of family, peer, and community interactions. Before initiating crack use, users were more likely to spend holidays alone or with friends than with their immediate or extended family. Users were less likely to recall pleasant childhood memories and were more likely to have begun sex with casual rather than steady partners.

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