Under the counter: the diffusion of narcotic analgesics to the inner city street

J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2005;4(2):97-114. doi: 10.1300/J233v04n02_05.


During the past decade, there has been a well-documented rise in the non-medical use of prescription painkillers, often referred to as narcotics analgesics (NA). Relatively little is known, however, about who these users are, the range of health and social consequences associated with their use and the presence of illicit NA use on the inner city street. Results of a survey conducted with a sample of 242 street drug users indicated that NA use is now widespread in the inner city, and that it is associated with a number of serious health and psychiatric conditions. Other characteristics of this emerging drug user group are explored and the need for future research is highlighted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Opioid / supply & distribution*
  • Black People / psychology
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cause of Death
  • Connecticut
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Overdose / mortality
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Illicit Drugs / supply & distribution*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / mortality
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • White People / psychology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Illicit Drugs