What Is A Drug?
-alters perception, alters behaviour
-has to be taken internally
Drug – a chemical substance that, when taken into the body, alters the structure of
functioning of the body in some way
Food is not a drug – drugs do not include nutrients considered to be related to normal
Psychoative Drug – drug that influences the functioning of the brain and hence our
behaviour and experience
DMT drug is produced in brain and found in more plants than not
What do we really mean by ‘drug use’ or a ‘drug problem’?
-it’s imperative to always collect DATA
Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? How much?
Licit drugs – drugs whose manufacture, sale or possession is legal (ex. alcohol, nicotine,
caffeine, etc; age-requirements may be important)
Illicit drugs – drugs whose manufacture, sale or possession is illegal
-Depends on who has and why they have it
Instrumental Use – a person taking a drug with a specific socially-approved goal in mind
Recreational Use – a person is taking the drug for the sole purpose of experiencing it’s
psychoactive properties (ex. to get ‘drunk’ or ‘high’)
Instrumental Use and Licit
Taking valium with a prescription to relieve anxiety
Drinking Red bull to stay awake
Instrumental Use and Illicit
Smoking MJ to relieve anxiety; taking Provigil, Ritalin, etc without a prescription to stay
awake while driving
Recreational Use and Licit
Having an alcoholic drink to facilitate social interactions at a party
Smoking salvia to experience a hallucination
Recreational Use and Illicit
Taking MDMA/Ecstasy to facilitate social interactions at a party
Taking LSD to experience a hallucination
Crack cocaine is more addictive than powdered Types of Drug Use
Deviant drug use – drug use that is not common within a social group and is disapproved
of by the majority
Drug misuse – use of drugs or chemicals in greater (or lesser) amounts than prescribed by
a doctor, or for purposes other than those intended by the manufacture
Drug abuse – substance use in a manner, an amount, or in situations such that it causes
social, occupational, psychological, or physical problems
Drug dependence - a more precise term than addiction
-a state in which an individual uses a drug so frequently or consistently that it would be
difficult for that person to stop
Who is using drugs, how much, and why?
-door to door
Easy to use – inexpensive, efficient
-Bias in student population (ex. dropouts not counted)
-Potential inaccuracy of self-reports (among both users and non-users)
Who is using drugs, how much, and why?
-Questions about age, gender, socio-economic status, etc.
-In the last 12 months, how often have you smoked a cigarette?
-Correlations with risk factors, protective factors, etc
-Of the small amount of those who have tried heroin, many are addicted
-Most addictive drug in tobacco … nicotine is in many respects the most addictive drug
Survey Findings: Long term trends in drug use (ex. Marijuana)
-high school students using mj, use changes quite a bit, 70s a lot of usage, drops down, picks
up again in 2000s
Supply or demand?
-what was happening alongside that drop in usage… Availability? Risk?
-when use goes down, people think it is more dangerous -when people start thinking it’s not to bad, usage goes back up
Availability is not associated with how people are using. There is a relation between
availability and use, but availability is always high because of demand. If people want
something there is always supply. There would be a relation if it wasn’t as available but
marijuana is easy to grow and there’s the demand for it.
Survey Findings: Relationship between onset age and likelihood of adulthood dependence
The age that someone first uses drugs is highly associated with how often they use it when
they are older. If someone drank for the first time when they were twelve, they will be
drinking 3 or 4 times the amount more than others their age when they’re older.
If you can stop people from drinking until they are 19, they will drink less when they are
Survey Findings: relationship between onset age and likelihood of adulthood dependence
-if you can keep people from drinking till age of 17 lowers the risk of future problems, if
people who are drinking 12/13 will have more problems
Survey Findings: Who is using drugs? Ethnic Profiles
Which ethnic groups are the biggest drug users?
What are the potential confounds in a high school survey
Potential Confounder: only kids that are in school are surveyed … however, for the kids that
are in school
Who has the bigger problem with alcohol, males or females?
-overwhelmingly people will say male
-actual numbers, very similar between male (82%) & female (76.8%)
(minus damage property)
-Males are more likely than females to smoke mj, and use illicit drugs
Impulsivity – can be correlated with rates of substance use in the general population
Survey Findings: Correlates of Drug Use: Risk Factor and Protective Factor
1. Having friends who use mj or other substances.
2. Engaging in frequent fighting, stealing, or other antisocial activities
3. Perceiving that substance use is prevalent at your school
4. Having a positive attitude toward mj use
1. Perceiving that there are strong sanctions against substance use at school
2. Having parents as a source of social support
3. Being committed to school and sports
4. Believing that religion is important and frequently attending religious services 5. Participating in two or more extracurricular activities
-Risk factors include:
-community, parental, and peer attitudes and behaviors
-poor school performance
-Protective factors include:
-involvement in religious activities **most important factor associated with
psychoactive drug use
-perceived risk of drug use
absence of religion seems to move closer towards drug use
Correlates of Drug Use
Risk and Protective Factors
-those adolescents who reported that their parents frequently monitored their behaviour
(checking homework, limiting TV watching, and requiring chores) were actually a little
more likely to report using mj than adolescents who reported less parental monitoring.
This finding points out the main problem with a co relational study: We don’t know if
excessive parental monitoring makes adolescents more likely to smoke mj, or if adolescents
smoking mj and getting in fights makes their parents more likely to monitor them (latter
seems more likely.
-another example… the kids who are getting low grades anyway who are more likely to be
cigarette smokers, and the same conclusion can probably be reached about mj smoking.
Risk Factors and Marijuana Use – friends were around
Major protective factors for adolescents - If people love you when your growing up your less
likely to develop problems
-Correlation Coefficient: frequency of drug use and degree to which your parents loved you,
should be around .8
Survey Data: it’s only correlational
-marijuana smoking is correlated to low grades in high school
- smoking mj causes the user to get lower grades
- low grades cause high school students to smoke mj
- something else causes low grades and marijuana smoking
20year long study
-smoking pot decreases IQ, only 5% of population
Survey Findings: Antecedents of Drug Use
-Antecedents: a factor that occurs before an event such as the initiation of drug use
-still not labeled ‘causes’ -examples of antecedents
-poor academic performance
-attachment to a drug using peer group
-parental and community norms that support drug use
Antecedents – interviewing the same individuals at different times and look for
characteristics that predict later initiation of drug use.
-A few scientists have been able to follow the same group of people at annual intervals for
several years in what is known as a longitudinal study.
Males who had shown a high ‘readiness’ to learn in grade 1 were less likely to be
cocaine users as adults, but females with poor academic performance in grade 1 had lower
rates of cocaine use than females with higher scores in grade 1.
Males who were either shy or aggressive in grade 1 were more likely to be adult
drug users than were the students who had been considered neither shy nor aggressive 26
-It is somewhat surprising that any variable measured at age 6 could reliably predict adult
Gateway substance is:
-a substance that, if used by a younger person, increases the likelihood of other drugs being
used when the person is older
-a substance that if used by a person of any age, increases the likelihood of the use of other
drugs (usually the later use of ‘hard’ drugs)
The drug that best predicts subsequent hard drug use, is tobacco
If you use marijuana before alcohol you’re more likely not to use those drugs