Some Aspects of the Epidemiology of Heroin Use in a Ghetto Community A Preliminary Report


This report contains preliminary findings of a survey of attitudes towards crime and delinquency of residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a community which has some of the highest rates of heroin addiction in New York City. A primary purpose of the survey was to obtain a more precise estimate of the actual rate of drug use in the area as well as to obtain data on the social and economic factors which correlate highly with addiction. Interviews with over 600 residents indicated a much higher rate of heroin use than the highest official estimates of 233 addicts per 10,000 persons. Several of the findings concerning the social factors surrounding addiction are unexpected and strike at the stereotyped image of the heroin user as a member of the least educated and poorest part of the community who is also likely to be a product of a broken home. Survey findings provide a useful tool for researchers in drug addiction as well as those actively engaged in efforts to halt the spread of heroin addiction and to treat those already addicted. (NCJRS abstract)