Dayton Daily News (Ohio) (09.06.07) - Monday, September 17,
A new study suggests that crack cocaine addicts, like abusers
of alcohol or heroin, typically fall into addictive patterns
that persist for years.
"It appears that crack cocaine pretty much unfolds along the
same path [as alcoholism]," said lead author Russel Falck of
Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine in
Dayton. "Once people get involved, they tend to stay involved
for a very long time."
The researchers interviewed 430 Dayton-area crack addicts
periodically during an eight-year period. Among the study's
*Participants who joined the study had already smoked crack
for an average of 7.6 years. Eight years later, two-thirds
were still smoking crack.
*Two-thirds of participants reported health problems. Persons
addicted to crack frequently engage in high-risk sexual
behaviors, exposing them to HIV and other STDs and blood-borne
*Crack addicts are disproportionately alcoholics. The
combination of crack and alcohol creates a chemical that can
have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system.
*Abstaining from crack was more difficult for black users than
white users, and for male users than female users. The
university is preparing a study to examine why crack addiction
would disproportionately affect minorities.
An editorial response in the same journal said, "It is time to
recalibrate our aim and focus drastically" in treating persons
addicted to crack. "Over the period of a quarter-century, we
have made little if any progress concerning effective
The study, "Crack Cocaine Trajectories Among Users in a
Midwestern American City," and the editorial, "Crack Use in
North American Cities: the Neglected 'Epidemic'" were
published in Addiction (2007;102(9):1421-1431 and 1340-1341,