A Scientist Development Award is requested to enable the Candidate to develop an independent program of research on community-based drug users. The research is centered around the development of a multidimensional classification of previously untreated, adult drug users. The classification will be based on Zinberg's (1984) conceptualization of drug use, i.e., Drug, Set, and Setting, and is designed to identify different types of drug users. The research will focus on African-Americans, Hispanics, and European-Americans who use cocaine, crack, or opiates, and who have never been in treatment. Furthermore, the research program will combine quantitative (e.g., survey methodology, multivariate statistics) and qualitative (e.g., interviews) research methods to derive drug user profiles. The proposed research is consistent with NIDA's program announcement PA-93-46, Drug use and abuse in minority and underserved populations.
The specific aims of the research are: 1) to derive profiles or a typology of drug users based on the variables of Drug, Set, and Setting; 2) to identify profiles that predict different patterns of drug use; 3) to ascertain the salient features of community-based, untreated drug users' lifestyles methods within each ethnic/racial group; 4) to identify subcultural norms in drug users of different ethnic/racial groups; 5) to investigate the interaction between the drug user and environments linked to drug use; 6) to link drug user profiles to neighborhood census data using Geographic Information System (GIS). The development of a typology of untreated drug users will have important implications for the etiology, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse. The SDA will allow the Candidate to engage in career development activities consisting of mentored research experience supplemented by coursework and consultations with renowned researchers in drug abuse. The training the Candidate will receive in qualitative research methods and use of the GIS will assist him in the proposed research and in future research endeavors, such as the submission of an R01 proposal. Qualitative research skills acquired during the award period will complement the Candidate's strength in quantitative methods. The combination of these skills and knowledge will assist the Candidate in establishing himself as an independent drug abuse researcher.