This study examines drug selling among representative samples of high school students in Ontario. It involves three approaches, (i) examining the trend in drug selling between 1983 and 1989, (ii) assessing differences between sellers and non-sellers on demographic characteristics, levels of alcohol and drug use, and problems, and (iii) drawing detailed profiles of drug seller types. Drug selling declined considerably between 1983 and 1989. Sellers were more likely to be males and to use alcohol and drugs more often than non-sellers. Sellers also had more alcohol and drug problems and engaged in more delinquent acts. Drug sellers who sold cannabis only were less frequent users of drugs, less likely to have drug problems, and were also delinquent.
The adolescent marijuana literature is reviewed. Studies show that the prevalence of marijuana use is generally quite low in elementary schools. In junior and senior high samples, findings vary greatly from place to place. The prevalence of use increased dramatically during the 1970s although the use patterns may have peaked already in some areas. The use of marijuana increases with age, but some evidence suggests that a slight drop-off in use occurs near the end of high school. Female use seems to be increasing more than male use. Use seems to be somewhat more prevalent in middle- and upper-middle-class homes and in broken homes. Mixed support has been found for the hypothesis that marijuana users have parents that are more permissive. Parents of marijuana users are generally characterized as being less warm and supportive, and more inclined toward the use of drugs themselves. Peer and sibling use of marijuana seem to be particularly important predictors of adolescent marijuana use. Findings on personality characteristics of marijuana users are not extensive and are somewhat contradictory. There is some evidence that users tend to be somewhat alienated, external in their locus of control, and possibly higher on anxiety. Users are also characterized by a higher value on independence vs achievement and more positive attitudes toward marijuana use. Behavioral correlates of marijuana use include greater use of alcohol and other drugs, and poorer school performance.
In a longitudinal study of 1230 people aged 13-18 years from the Greater Oslo Area, the past-year prevalence of anxiolytic or hypnotic use was 10%, which is higher than previously reported. The majority gave therapeutic reasons as a motive for using these drugs. However, most of the use was unprescribed. The parents, and especially the mother, were the most important suppliers. A minority gave intoxication as a motive for using these drugs. In this group, the suppliers were mainly peers and the illegal market. Neither the unprescribed nor the prescribed therapeutic use show any association with use of drugs such as alcohol and cannabis. There is, however, a strong association between the unprescribed use of benzodiazepines by young people and by their parents. This suggests a pattern of learning and role modelling, which must be regarded as problematic for public health policy. Those who use the drugs to become intoxicated have particularly poor mental health, and they use many other drugs as well. This group probably runs a special risk of developing more serious drug abuse.
By utilizing the Gutman Scaling technique and by plotting acquisition curves, a number of different patterns of involvement with different psychoactive drugs were discerned. A stable, sequential, and cumulative hierarchy of experience with drugs was found to be established at age 15, but different peak years exist for trying different drugs. It was also found that drug use may be cumulative for some drugs and not for others. Special emphasis has been given to discussing the research implications that have arisen from the present study.