Concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine: Differences in patterns of use and problems among users of crack cocaine and cocaine powder

Michael Gossop, Victoria Manning, Gayle Ridge

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66 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To investigate differences in alcohol and drug consumption behaviours and related problems among users of cocaine powder versus crack cocaine. Methods: The sample of concurrent users of alcohol and cocaine (n = 102) was recruited from clinical and community (non-clinical) settings in London. Those recruited in the community were contacted by means of snowball sampling methods. Data were collected by means of face-to-face structured interviews. Results: Heavy drinking was common. There were differences in alcohol consumption between users of cocaine powder and crack cocaine. Cocaine powder users reported more frequent heavy drinking than crack users. Heavy drinking often involved drinking excessive amounts over prolonged periods. Crack cocaine users reported more serious problems associated with cocaine, other illicit drugs, psychological and physical health problems, and acquisitive crime. Conclusions: Frequent heavy drinking represents a serious risk to the health of many cocaine users. The differences in alcohol consumption patterns confirm the importance of distinguishing between use of cocaine powder and crack cocaine. Few of the sample had received treatment for cocaine or alcohol problems. Healthcare professionals working in primary care or accident and emergency settings may need to be trained to detect, assess, and respond to concurrent alcohol and cocaine problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

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