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Science in Brief

SCIENCE FILE: An exploration of issues and trends affecting science, medicine and the environment. : Aid for Schizophrenics May Increase Their Abuse of Drugs

September 25, 1995| From Times staff and wire reports

Federal disability checks may do more harm than good for the severely mentally disabled who are also drug abusers, according to researchers at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Dr. Andrew Shaver and his colleagues studied 105 schizophrenics, most of them homeless, who were also drug abusers. They report in the New England Journal of Medicine that cocaine use jumped dramatically in the first three days of the month, after disability checks arrived, and that admissions to hospitals for problems related to their schizophrenia peaked in the days immediately afterward.

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