Differences in Impulsivity and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Inner-City Crack/Cocaine Users and Heroin Users

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Sexual risk behavior, Impulsivity, Crack/cocaine, Heroin

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The current study utilized a sample of 123 inner-city drug users in residential treatment, comparing sexual risk behavior (SRB) across primary users of (a) heroin and not crack/cocaine, (b) crack/cocaine and not heroin, and (c) both heroin and crack/cocaine. Additional analyses also examined impulsivity as a mediator of drug choice and SRB. Results indicated that SRB was higher in primary crack/cocaine users than in primary heroin users, with those using both drugs evidencing intermediate levels of SRB. Beyond differences in SRB, a similar pattern across drugs was found for impulsivity. Finally, impulsivity mediated the relationship between drug choice and SRB. Although further research is necessary to establish causal relationships, these results support a relationship between SBR and crack/cocaine, and suggest that disinhibition processes including impulsivity may underlie this relationship.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, v. 77, no. 2, p. 169-175