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Prevalence and Risk Factors of Illicit Drug Use by People With Disabilities

NCJ Number
American Journal on Addictions Volume: 7 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 1998 Pages: 93-102
D Moore
Date Published
10 pages
This study examined patterns and risk factors of illicit drug use among people with disabilities by use of a random sample of 1,876 persons involved in vocational rehabilitation services in three midwestern States.
Data used for the study were collected in the Medication and Other Drug Use Survey during 1994-95. The survey contained 102 questions regarding demographics, substance use, disability conditions, attitudes toward disability, family background, employment, and psychosocial functioning. The population from which the sample was drawn included all active clients of State vocational rehabilitation services in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois at the time when the survey was conducted. The second stage of data collection consisted of personal interviews and self-reports that involved randomly recruited prospective respondents at six local offices in each State. A key dependent variable was illicit drug use, which was defined as use of the following drugs for nonmedical purposes: marijuana/hashish, cocaine, crack, inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin or other opiates, stimulants, and sedatives/tranquilizers. Compared with regional drug-use data from the general population, respondents with disabilities reported higher rates of illicit drug use for nearly every drug category. Factors significantly associated with illicit drug use included level of disability acceptance, best friends' drug use, attitude of disability entitlement, self-esteem, and risk-taking. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for rehabilitation and disability policy. 3 tables and 22 references