The aim of this study was to characterize the sociodemographic conditions and patterns of crack use among women. A descriptive-exploratory study with a qualitative approach was performed in January 2012, using semi-structured interviews with 16 women who use or used crack, and were enrolled in the Damage Reduction Strategy of the municipality of Pelotas, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Data were analyzed using the thematic content analysis. A group of young women was identified with low levels of education and income, which perform informal labor activities and have at least one child. The pattern of crack use among these women was identified as the "binge" type, interfering with daily activities, and characterizing the group of women as abusive users. The pattern of crack use among the women, and its relation to issues of gender, pointed to the production of new insertions and discourses, bringing into question pre-defined behaviors in society.
Drug users; Crack cocaine; Women; Gender identity