Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Profile of lifetime methamphetamine use among homeless adults in Los Angeles.

  • Author(s): Nyamathi, Adeline
  • Dixon, Elizabeth L
  • Shoptaw, Steven
  • Marfisee, Mary
  • Gelberg, Lillian
  • Williams, Stephanie
  • Dominick, Stephanie
  • Leake, Barbara
  • et al.

Although the dramatic rise of methamphetamine use in the general population has been well-documented, little is known about methamphetamine use in the homeless population. This study examines self-reported methamphetamine use and its correlates among a sample of 664 urban homeless adults in Los Angeles. Over one-quarter of the overall sample, and 60% of whites, disclosed lifetime methamphetamine use. Less than 10% of African-Americans reported ever using methamphetamine. Approximately one-tenth of respondents reported current methamphetamine use; almost 90% of current users shared straws to snort methamphetamine and half used it daily. Logistic regression analysis in younger (18-39) and older (40+) respondents revealed that white ethnicity, polydrug use and binge drinking were independently associated with lifetime methamphetamine use, regardless of age. Injection drug use (IDU) was also an important correlate of methamphetamine use for older African-Americans. IDU was not important for the younger group. Findings suggest that there is need for greater surveillance of methamphetamine use among homeless whites and Hispanics, and methamphetamine-use prevention and reduction targeted to younger, polydrug-using, alcohol-binging homeless adults.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View