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Journal of AddictionVolume 2013 2013, Article ID 851840, 9 pages

Research Article

Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, 655 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 4R4

School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3

School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, 302-6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3

Received 1 March 2013; Revised 17 June 2013; Accepted 26 June 2013

Academic Editor: Brian Conway

Copyright © 2013 Steven Persaud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


People who smoke crack cocaine are described as chaotic and more likely to engage in risky sex, polysubstance use and contract infectious diseases. However, little is known about how individuals perceive smoking crack as compared to other forms of cocaine use, especially injection. We explored the lived experience of people who smoke crack cocaine. Six gender-specific focus groups of individuals who currently smoke crack in Vancouver, Canada, were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. Focus groups were transcribed and analyzed by constant comparative methodology. We applied Rhodes’ risk environment to the phenomenological understanding that individuals have regarding how crack has affected their lives. Subjects reported that smoking rather than injecting cocaine allows them to begin “controlling chaos” in their lives. Controlling chaos was self-defined using nontraditional measures such as the ability to maintain day-to-day commitments and housing stability. The phenomenological lens of smoking crack instead of injecting cocaine “to control chaos” contributes a novel perspective to our understanding of the crack-smoking population. This study examines narratives which add to prior reports of the association of crack smoking and increased chaos and suggests that, for some, inhaled crack may represent efforts towards self-directed harm reduction.

Autor: Steven Persaud, Despina Tzemis, Margot Kuo, Vicky Bungay, and Jane A. Buxton



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