The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3287.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 2

Abstract #43792

Changes in drug use as a response to the events of 9/11: A study of current and former users of heroin, cocaine and alcohol

Ruth Finkelstein, ScD, Office of Special Populations, The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, NY 10029, 212 822 7236, and Linda Weiss, PhD, New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029.

The events of September 11 have profoundly impacted the lives of many New Yorkers. For individuals with a history of substance use, there has been a concern that increased anxiety would lead to more drug and alcohol use. The findings described here are based on 30 open-ended interviews of low-income New York City residents, all with a history of heroin, cocaine, and/or alcohol use. These interviews were conducted between October 2001 and January 2002 and focused on the individuals’ experiences on 9/11; drug use before, on and after 9/11; and their feelings about the events of that day and its aftermath. Two people reported that they were relatively unfazed by the events, one indicating that he had faced other traumas in his life (including service in Vietnam and HIV infection) whose impact have been more direct. Most participants, in contrast, indicated high levels of anxiety and anger. For approximately one-quarter, these feelings resulted in increased use of drugs and/or alcohol on or immediately after 9/11. Although 2 of the 8 subsequently reduced their use, others in the sample increased use. In all, 9 individuals (30%) were using drugs more frequently at the time of their interview than they had before 9/11. Four individuals used drugs less frequently after 9/11, primarily due to reduced income. New Yorkers with a substance use history responded to the events of 9/11 in a variety of ways. A significant number increased their drug and/or alcohol use in an effort to cope with these tragic events.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participants will be able to

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Poly-Drug Use: Multiple Problems, Multiple Challenges Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA