Looking beyond stereotypes: Exploring variations among crack smokers

Danielle German, Claire E. Sterk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Since the onset of the crack epidemic in the U.S. in the 1980s, the social and health consequences to the drug's users from their perspective has received limited attention. This exploratory study was designed to explore heterogeneity among crack users. Based on in-depth interviews with 22 active crack users in Atlanta, Georgia, variations among them were explored. Data analysis involved the constant comparison method as part of the grounded theory approach. A typology was derived that describes four subsets of users. The two most salient dimensions of the typology are the level of protective strategies that enable the user to avoid negative consequences and their frequency of crack use. Daily life structure and the extent to which they have access to crack contributed most strongly to use frequency. The typology includes: (1) stable users; (2) tempted users; (3) grappling users; and (4) immersed users. Increased insight into the heterogeneity among crack users is relevant when designing comprehensive prevention and intervention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of psychoactive drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Crack users
  • Frequency
  • Prevention
  • Use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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