, Volume 35, Issue 10, pp 451-456

Substance use disorders among homeless people in inner Sydney

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Background: The study aimed to assess the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders among homeless people in inner Sydney, to compare the Australian findings with the international literature and to examine treatment seeking. Method: Two hundred and ten homeless men and women randomly selected from the dining rooms of inner Sydney refuges were interviewed. DSM-IV diagnoses over the past 12 months were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Results: Half the homeless men and 15% of the women had a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder in the past 12 months. One in five had an opiate use disorder, one in five a cannabis use disorder and one in ten a sedative or stimulant use disorder. Conclusions: Drug use disorders were more prevalent in this Australian sample than in comparable international studies.