Drugs and Behaviour – Chapter 1
“The drug problem”
o “drug use on the rise” that is constantly in the news, but how big of a problem does this have?
o Talking about drug use
Not all drugs demand the same level of concern
o Who’s taking the drugs?
Majority of Canadians perceive drug and alcohol abuse to be a
More concerned when age is lower or if it is a girl vs. boy
o What drug is being taken?
Drugs is a large umbrella term, includes tobacco, alcohol and more
When and where?
o What is the situation of the drug use?
o Is the time of the drug use appropriate?
o Why are they taking drugs?
o Motives of the drug use can be complex
o How is the drug taken?
Different methods of intake give different results
o How is the drug being used?
Is their use considered “normal”?
o Four principles of psychoactive drugs
Having effects on thoughts, emotions or behaviour
Drugs, per se, are not good or bad
o No bad drug, but behaviour
o Drugs are not good or bad, but the effects it has on people is what is the
Every drug has multiple effects
o All psychoactive drugs act on more than one place in the brain
o Virtually every drug that acts in brain also has effects on rest of the body
Both the size and quality of a drug’s effect depend on the amount the individual has
o Different dose levels often show a change in kind of effect
o Increase in dosage causes an increase in the same effects noticed at lower
Effect of any psychoactive drug depends on the individual’s history and expectations
o Individuals attitude has a major effect on perception of drug experience
o If they perceive the drug is of “high quality”, then effects will be perceived to
How did we get here?
o Drug-free society has never existed and will most likely never exist
o Early cultures
Psychoactive drug use was intertwined with spirituality
o Have things really changed?
1 Drugs and Behaviour – Chapter 1
What happens when drug use conflicts with religious practices?
Some psychoactive drugs have been granted exemption from the controlled drugs
and substances act if drug use is used in religious ceremonies
Some drugs play a huge part in the economy of the country
Tobacco brings in a large amount of tax revenue
Legal pharmaceutical market
Proportion of economy devoted to psychoactive drugs has expanded considerably
Canada’s Drug Strategy (CDS) addresses ongoing public health concerns
Education, prevention, harm reduction and enforcement
o Needle exchange programs
Drugs and drug use today
o Gathering information about drug use in today’s society is not easy
Cannot measure illegal substances because tracking sales is impossible
o Extent of drug use
Many surveys proposed to students to gather large amounts of information easily
Most interested in students because this is when drug use typically begins and
reaches highest levels
Can only gather information from students in school, bias because students who drop ou are
more likely to engage in drug use
Must assume that self-reports are done honestly
o Trends in drug use
Surveys done have 4 main objectives
Determine prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug and alcohol use
To measure personal and social harms associated with patterns of different drug use
during lifetime and 12 month period during survey
Assess context of use and identify risk and protective factors related to drug use and
Establish baseline data to evaluate the successful of CDS strategies
Data collected provide wealth of information about trends in drug and alcohol use in Canada
Patterns in binge drinking similar to cannabis
Studies show more likely to reduce drug use by education students about the risk of using
compared to the availability of the drug
Patterns and rates of drug and alcohol use change with time
Changes because of attitude and behavioural change among Canadians
Correlates of Drug use
o Once we know that there is some percentage of group who use it, must figure out characteristics of
those who use drug compared to those who don’t
Studies rarely reveal much about very unusual or very common types or amounts of drug use
Correlates – variable statistically related to some other variable
o Risk and protective factors
Risk factors correlated with higher rates of drug use
Protective factors correlated with lower