Background: This study examines drug use and dependence and associated risks among female street-based sex workers.
Methods: Cross-sectional data collected from 72 women between April and August 2005 in Sydney, Australia, via face-to-face interviews.
Sample: The average age was 34 years.
Results: Risk factors associated with developing problematic drug use were prevalent. Child sexual abuse, leaving home before the age of 16, and exposure to multiple traumas was common. Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder were also prevalent. A substantial minority reported cocaine dependence which was associated with engaging in sex and injecting risk behaviors.
Conclusions: More targeted interventions for this group are needed. Research on the value of extending existing outreach services to further reduce the harms associated with sex work and drug use is indicated. The study's limitations are noted.