Crack cocaine use is associated with polydrug abuse, and inpatients dependent on crack exhibit profiles of serious consumption patterns. Use of alcohol and tobacco and other drugs is a risk factor for experimentation of additional drugs, including crack cocaine.
The present study describes the characteristics and crack consumption patterns among inpatients in treatment during 2011 and 2012 at the Hospital Psiquiátrico São Pedro (Porto Alegre, Brazil). An additional objective was to identify the sequence of alcohol and tobacco consumption prior to crack use.
The participants were 53 male inpatients addicted to crack with a mean age of 27.5±7.3 years. A sociodemographic questionnaire; the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test and the Mini Mental State Examination were all administered to participants. Inclusion criteria were crack cocaine dependency (based on the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases [ICD-10]) and being abstinent for 7 days. Patients with cognitive difficulties who were unable to understand and/or respond to the questionnaires were excluded from the sample.
The participants were young male adults with low educational level and low incomes and were polydrug users. The majority had made more than one attempt to quit. Use of legal drugs in early adolescence, prior to crack use, was identified.
The profiles of the inpatients addicted to crack treated at this hospital indicate a serious usage pattern among those who seek specialized support. Crack use is frequent and is associated with use of other drugs and with difficulty sustaining abstinence. The pattern of progression from alcohol and tobacco use to crack cocaine dependency demands the attention of those responsible for prevention policies.
Consumption pattern; drug addiction; crack cocaine