Drug dependence among young recently initiated injection drug users

Amelia M. Arria, Crystal Fuller, Steffanie A. Strathdee, Carl Latkin, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study reports the prevalence of current drug dependence among 226 young recently initiated injection drug users (IDUs) (median age 25 years) recruited from community settings in Baltimore, Maryland. Dependence upon alcohol, cocaine, crack, and heroin was measured in relation to DSM-IV criteria derived from 10 questions from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) (Epstein & Gfroerer, 1997). The proportion of dependence among users for heroin, cocaine, crack, and alcohol was 91%, 42%, 37%, and 21%, respectively. Few significant associations were found between sociodemographic characteristics and drug dependence. Frequency of drug use was strongly associated with alcohol, cocaine, and crack dependence for both males and females; however, for heroin, the association between frequency and dependence was only statistically significant in males. The finding that a high proportion of the individuals in this study meet criteria for dependence underscores the need for appropriate and accessible drug treatment for young injection drug users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1102
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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