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Characteristics of Homeless Youth Who Use Cocaine and Methamphetamine


Dr. Nyamathi, UCLA, School of Nursing, Room 2–250, Factor Building, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1702. E-mail:


This cross-sectional hepatitis health promotion study (N = 156) was designed to identify correlates of cocaine and methamphetamine use among young, homeless persons living in Los Angeles County. Structured questionnaires were administered at baseline to assess sociodemographic characteristics, drug history, and social support. Unadjusted analysis showed that older age, having a history of incarceration, injection drug use (IDU), 10 or more sexual partners, and sex for money were associated with both cocaine and methamphetamine use. Logistic regression results showed that injection drug users had over seven times greater odds of using each stimulant compared with nonusers of injection drugs; those reporting at least 10 sexual partners and alcohol use in the past 6 months were more likely to use cocaine than their respective counterparts. African Americans were also less likely than Whites to report cocaine use. Understanding of these relationships can guide interventions targeting the multiple challenges faced by this population. (Am J Addict 2012;21:243–249)