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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

PASSOS, Sônia R. L.  and  CAMACHO, Luiz A. B.. Client characteristics at a center for treatment of drug dependence. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.32, n.1, pp. 64-71. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101998000100009.

OBJECTIVE: Sociodemographic and psychopathological characteristics as well as treatment approaches to patients at an outpatient clinic for drug addicts are described. METHODS: Descriptive study based on randomly sampled medical charts and registration forms of subjects presenting for treatment from 1986 to 1993. RESULTS: The sample was made up predominantly of young white unmarried men, with low occupational status. The number of years of schooling was greater than that of individuals of the same age group in the general population. Thirty-six percent of the subjects were sons of broken-down marriages, 14% had been abandoned by parents during childhood and 14% had lost one of their parents by death. Fifty percent complained of an absent father in their upbringing. Sixteen percent of the patients reported physical abuse in their childhood and the father was the perpetrator in 68% of the cases. The mean age at which subjects started to use drugs was 17.4 years. Cocaine was by far the most abused drug, either alone (34%) or together with other drugs (52%). Slightly less than half of the individuals used marijuana, whereas one fifth were also addicted to alcohol. In the time interval covered by the study the proportion of cocaine abusers increased, whereas marijuana and intravenous drug users decreased among those subjects who attended the program. CONCLUSION: The results of this study provided information for services assessment and for the modification of the organization of the treatment of drug abuse.

Keywords : Substance dependence; rehabilitation; Outpatients; Psychopathology; socioeconomic factors.

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