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Qual Health Res. 2013 Apr;23(4):450-62. doi: 10.1177/1049732312469465. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

The process of safer crack use among women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

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University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


In this article we discuss the findings from a grounded theory study in which we explored how women residing in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) minimized some of the physical, psychological, and interpersonal harms associated with crack cocaine use, and identify the social, economic, and political factors that influence safer use. Data were collected over a 3-month period and involved group interviews with 27 women at an agency run by drug users in the DTES. A preliminary theory of safer crack use is discussed, consisting of the central phenomenon of caring for self and others. In addition, four thematic processes are described: (a) establishing a safe physical space, (b) building trusting relationships, (c) learning about safer crack use, and (d) accessing safer equipment. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to supporting women's efforts and improving health outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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