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Need for health care services among heroin sniffers

Dale D. Chitwood, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Sociology Research Center, 5665 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33146-0719, (305) 284-6176, m.comerford@miami.edu and Jesus Sanchez, PhD, Sociology Research Center, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33146.

PURPOSE: To examine health care need and failure to receive needed care among heroin sniffers (HSs). METHODS: A tri-ethnic sample of 414 men and women who sniffed heroin was recruited into an ongoing longitudinal study. Participants signed an informed consent and were interviewed about health care need and failure to receive needed care during the last six months. RESULTS: The sample is 76.6 % male; 61.1% African-American, 15.2% non-Hispanic white, and 23.7% Hispanic/Latino. The mean age is 38.5. Two outcome variables were examined: need for care and failure to receive needed care. Of the total sample of 414, 114 (27.5%) needed care: [men (25.6%), women (34.0%); African American (28.5%), non-Hispanic white (33.3%), Hispanic/Latino (18.4%); 19 through 29 year olds (23.5%), 30 through 39 (20.3%), 40 through 49 (31.7%), 50 and older (39.7 %.)] Age was a significant (p<.05) demographic factor; older participants had more need for health care. Among the 114 of the sample who needed care, 32.5% failed to receive needed care. There was no significant difference between men (34.6%) and women (27.3%). Non-Hispanic whites (57.1%) were significantly more likely not to receive care than were African-Americans (25.0%) or Hispanic/Latinos (33.3%). No significant differences were observed between the age groups, [19 -29 years of age (47.4%), 30-39 (44.4%), 40-49 (26.7%), 50 and older (17.4%]. Behavioral factors associated with health care need also were assessed. CONCLUSIONS: One-third of HSs do not receive needed health care. Interventions that increase medical services to drug users need to include HSs.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Health Care

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.

Co-morbidity and Treatment Effectiveness Poster Session

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA