• Article

Relationship between drug preference and indicators of psychiatric impairment

This study was conducted to investigate the relationship between the indicators of psychiatric disorders of individuals and their choice of either cocaine or heroin, drugs that differ markedly in their pharmacological effects. Cocaine acts as an intense stimulant, and heroin has profound sedative effects. This investigation examined the relationship between preference for heroin or cocaine and indicators of psychiatric impairment. Data from 282 subjects were grouped according to drug of choice and analyzed. Ninety-three percent of these subjects were African-American, 32% were female, and the average age was 34. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses, such as discriminant analyses, were used to determine group differences. The results are evaluated and interpreted in relation to both the current empirical findings and to the hypotheses and theories postulated as a result of earlier clinical observations on drug of choice and psychopathology. Discriminant analysis yielded an overall correct classification rate of 75%. The discriminant function suggests that members in the cocaine drug of choice group as contrasted with members in the heroin preference group can be characterized as more socially inhibited and more self-defeating after adjusting for differences in age, duration of use of illicit substances, and marital status. Those who favored cocaine as contrasted with those who favored heroin were more likely to have never married, be younger, and have used illicit substances for a shorter period of time


Flynn, P., Luckey, J., Brown, BS., Hoffman, JA., Dunteman, G., Theisen, A., ... Koman, JJ. (1995). Relationship between drug preference and indicators of psychiatric impairment. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 21(2), 153-166.