Drugs and Behaviours Readings
Psychoactive Drugs: compounds that alter conciousness and affect mood. Effect
thoughts emotions or behaviour.
Principles that apply to all psychoactive drugs:
1) drugs are not good or bad. It is the way the drug is being used that makes it bad.
2) every drug has multiple effect. Act on more than one place in the brain so we
expect them to produce complex psychological effects. All drugs have an effect on
the brain which also effects the rest of the body.
3) size and quality of the drugs effect depend on the amount taken.
4) the effect of any drug depnds on the individuals history and expectations.
Depends on what was there initially. Their attitude can have an extreme difference
on the drug experience.
- druge use and its regulations are reflective of changes in our society and in how we
as individuals interact with that society.
- our attempts to solve drug problems have had major influences on us as
individuals and our perceptions of appropriate roles for government, education and
Extent of Drug Use
Trends: we have large changes in rates of drug use even when the supply of the drug
does not appear to change much. The best way to achieve low rates of drug use is by
convincing students the drug is risky. The cause and effect of risk and drug use has
not been proven yet.
How do we explain these changes in drug use? Social trends.
Correlates of Drug Use
Those who use the drugs compared to those who do not.
Can certain personal characteristics be correlated with drug use?
Analyze in terms of risk and protective factors. Risk factors are correlated with
higher rates of drug use an protective factors with lower rates of drug use. People
who reported that their parents frequently monitored their behaviour were a little
more likely to report using marijuana. Kids who are getting low grades anyway are
more likely to smoke cigarettes and use marijuana.
Race, gender and level of education: Men are more likely to drink, smoke, and use
cocaine than females. White people are more likely to use the drugs than their
fellow stereotypes. Personality variables: weak or inconsistent correlations with most traditional
personality types. “impulsivity”: (a persons tendency to act quickly without thinking
of long term consequences) can be correlated with rates of substance use in the
general pipulation. Find higher rates of substance use in people who are antisocial
or have conduct disorder. Personality factors play a small role in whether someone
will try it but play a larger role in whether it develops into a serious problem.
Genetics: probably play a small role in whether someone tries drugs but a larger
role in whether the use will develop into a serious problem
Antecedents of drug use: characteristics that predict later initiation of drug use.
Heavy alcohol use can be predicted by risk factors such as: aggressiveness, conduct
problems, poor academic performance, attachment to bad company, parents and
society norms more accepting of drugs.
Gateway Substances: one of the first drugs used by a typical drug user. explains
something about later drug use. However knowing which drug was used first was
not a good predictor of later drug use. Indicatior of the basic pattern of deviant
behaviour resulting from a variety of psychosocial risk factors.
Motives for drug use:
1) young people have chosen to identify with a deviant subculture. Engage in a
variety of behaviours not condoned by the larger society. Within that group a
certain drug may not be considered deviant but rather expected.
2) people try hard to impress their peers or parents and if they are not receiving
that attention they may turn to dangerous things to receive that attention.
3) may be found within the drug itself. Many of the drugs are capable of reinforcing
the behaviour that gets the drug into the system. Reinforcement is when each time
you take the drug you increase slightly the probability that you will take it again..
4) most seek an altered state of conciousness. Looking for a change – something new
Deviant drug use: forms of drug use not considered either normal or acceptable by
the society at large.
Drug Misuse: using a drug in a way that was not intended by it