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Drug Use Among Sex Workers

It is no surprise to law enforcement and the general public that there is a strong connection between drug abuse and sex workers. In fact, the two crimes of illicit drug use and prostitution are often closely interrelated. Actual hard data is inherently difficult to come by on this topic but anecdotal observations bear out the relationship between the two.

Some prostitutes use drugs to numb themselves so they can continue working. This aspect of drug abuse seems useful for their occupation. It eliminates inhibitions and tends to desensitize sex workers to its traumatic effects. The drugs help them to take their minds off of what they are doing, making them more detached from the situation. The dangers of the job are also sources of great anxiety that the sex worker can suppress by using drugs and alcohol. Others have a real addiction and ply their trade to score drug money to feed their ongoing habit. Still others, often those who are victims of illegal sex trafficking, are force fed drugs to eliminate their resistance to the grim work of being a sex worker.

Whether the prostitute works for a high end call girl ring or at truck stops scoring some quick tricks, the pain associated with the business plus the illegal nature of it makes it a profession steeped in illegal and dangerous drug use. The addictions that are rooted in the sex worker trade only exacerbate a problem that is already at serious levels in the US.

Street prostitution and street drug markets are closely linked. They reinforce and support one another. The drugs used by sex workers include mainly methamphetamine, cocaine or crack and heroin. Often, serious drug users get into prostitution at some point on their addiction road to help finance the habit. Of course, come prostitutes develop bad habits as part of the street prostitution lifestyle. They are a huge customer base for street- level drug dealers.

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In fact, crack cocaine markets usually drive down the price of street prostitution. That’s because a prostitute, desperate for the drug, will sell sex cheaply. This can cause other prostitutes to resent them for driving down prices or having sex without condoms. Their pimps may also punish them for holding back their earnings to buy drugs. In addition, sex workers who are hooked on drugs become more vulnerable to violence being committed against them as well as themselves committing robberies or becoming violent. Where drugs and street prostitution are linked, it is less predictable and much more dangerous.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction or alcoholism and is a sex worker, you should know that the risks of continuing this lifestyle are significant and include imprisonment or death. Take action now before it’s too late by calling the number at the top of your screen for an immediate, confidential consultation about how we can help get you off the streets and give you the time, resources and support needed to get clean and stay clean for life.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More