Objective: The study accompanied 131 crack-cocaine users over a 5-year period, and examined mortality patterns, as well as the causes of death among them.
Method: All patients admitted to a detoxification unit in Sao Paulo between 1992 and 1994 were interviewed during two follow-up periods: 1995-1996 and 1998-1999.
Results: After 5 years, 124 patients were localized (95%). By the study endpoint (1999), 23 patients (17.6%) had died. Homicide was the most prevalent cause of death (n = 13). Almost one third of the deaths were due to the HIV infection, especially among those with a history of intravenous drug use. Less than 10% died from overdose.
Conclusions: The study suggests that the mortality risk among crack cocaine users is greater than that seen in the general population, homicide and AIDS being the most common causes of death among such individuals.