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J Stud Alcohol. 1996 Sep;57(5):475-85.

Longitudinal changes in alcohol and drug use among men seen at a gay-specific substance abuse treatment agency.

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  • 1Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco 94105-3411, USA.



This study describes changes over a 12-month period in prevalence and frequency of alcohol and other drug use and correlates of change at 12 months in a sample of gay/bisexual men entering gay-identified outpatient substance abuse treatment.


A sequential sample of gay/bisexual men (n = 455) were recruited for a study in which substance use, sexual risk and psychological factors were assessed every 3 months. Changes in substance use were evaluated in 321 men who used in the 90 days before entering treatment and who completed at least one follow-up interview, whether or not they continued in treatment.


At baseline, 95% of the sample reported alcohol use in the prior 90 days; 64%, marijuana/hashish use; 46%, amphetamine use; 33%, inhalant nitrites use; and 31%, cocaine use. Most men were polydrug users: 10% reported using only one drug (including alcohol); 39% used > or = 4 drugs. A marked reduction occurred in prevalence of use over time; declines on the order of 50% occurred in the first 90 days; prevalence then stabilized in remaining assessments. Frequency of usage by those reporting use of any given class of drugs also declined. No consistent predictors of reduction or cessation of use across different drug categories were found at 1 year.


Substance use declined considerably in this sample. Given the scope of substance abuse problems among gay/bisexual men, and linkages to the HIV epidemic, considerable resources need to be focused on treatment and prevention for gay/bisexual men.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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