Crack use and correlates of use in a national population of street heroin users†

Duane C. McBride, James A. Inciardi, Dale D. Chitwood, Clyde B. McCoy, Marcia Andersen, Robert Baxter, Sandra Baxter, George Beschner, Patrick Biernacki, Stanley Broadnax, Vivian Brown, Larry DeNeal, Sherry Deren, Antonio Estrada, David Fleming, Samuel Friedman, Sena Gates, Peggy Glider, Ted Hammett, Dana HultLynne Kotranski, Clyde McCoy, Josette Mondanaro, Harvey Musikoff, Richard Needle, Fen Rhodes, Rafaela Robles, Roy Ross, Bruce Rounsaville, Jean Schensul, Vernon Shorty, Harvey Siegal, Merrill Singer, Frederick Snyder, Barbara Sowder, Richard Stephens, Sally Stevens, Kenneth Vogtsberger, Judith Walton, Deena Watson, Wayne Weibel, Mark Williams, Robert Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditionally, researchers and clinicians have viewed street heroin users as representing an end point in a drug-using career. It is toward this population that major national treatment efforts have been directed. Concomitant with the historical national concern about heroin use has been concern about the increase in crack cocaine use. There has been speculation that crack use may have become a substitute for the higher risk of heroin injection. This article examines the impact of crack use in a national population of heroin users. It was consistently found that there was a correlation between the frequency of crack use and the frequency of speedballing as well as the use of other forms of cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana. There was also a positive relationship between frequency of crack use and such HIV risk behaviors as renting needles and having a large number of sex partners. The data suggest that in this population of heroin users, crack is not a substitute for heroin but rather is a part of a drug-use pattern that includes an increased use of other drugs and increased high-risk behaviors for contracting HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-416
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • Correlates of use
  • Crack cocaine
  • HIV high-risk behaviors
  • Heroin
  • Injecting drug users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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