Pregnancy and Birth Control Among Drug Users: Reproductive Conduct Norms Among Inner-City Distressed Households

Eloise Dunlap, N. D. R. I., Inc.
Bruce D. Johnson, N. D. R. I., Inc.

This presentation will analyze several conduct norms of street subcultures with a focus upon those associated with pregnancy and reproductive decisions among inner city African-American women where one or more household members participate in crack and other drug consumption and or sales. The analysis focused upon the normative standards among illicit drug users who become pregnant and upon their: sexual behavior patterns, use of contraceptives, reasons for having children, dealing with and the decision making process to complete or abort pregnancies. Reproductive patterns are learned and reproduced from one generation to another. The street/drug subculture conduct norms provide pivotal factors in the nature, types, and consequences of the female reproductive decision-making. Data comes from an eight-year ethnographic study entitled "Co-occurring Drugs & Violence in Distressed Household." The study consisted of 72 families and 158 subjects. Findings indicate that above and beyond role modeling and family systems, the conduct norms of street/drug subcultures increase the likelihood of getting pregnant, frequency of getting pregnant, and the types of birth control/contraceptive and reproductive decisions made.

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Updated 05/20/2006