The relationship between risk networks' patterns of crack cocaine and alcohol consumption and HIV-related sexual behaviors among adult injection drug users: a prospective study

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1996 Nov;42(3):175-81. doi: 10.1016/s0376-8716(96)01279-3.


Social context may be an important determinant of drug and alcohol consumption and HIV-related behaviors. To assess the influence of peers on drug users' risk behaviors this study examined the association between individual level and group level behaviors. This analysis reports on the prospective association between baseline self-reported drug and alcohol use of the network members of injection drug users, and self-reported sexual behaviors and alcohol use at 5-month follow-up. Participants were a nontreatment sample of inner-city injection drug users who volunteered for a network-oriented HIV preventive intervention. They were predominantly unemployed, African American males. Of the 71 index participants who completed both the baseline and follow-up interviews, 227 of their drug network members were enrolled in the study. At baseline indexes' sexual risk behaviors were significantly associated with their drug network members' level of crack cocaine use. At follow-up higher levels of alcohol and crack use among drug network members were associated with indexes' reports of multiple sex partners and increased alcohol consumption. Higher levels of crack use among the drug network members were associated with the indexes' reporting casual sex partners at follow-up. These results highlight the importance of studying the role of peer group influence and the social context of risk behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Crack Cocaine*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Heroin Dependence / epidemiology
  • Heroin Dependence / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Peer Group
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Social Support*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology*


  • Crack Cocaine