Skip Navigation

Link to  the National Institutes of Health  
The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
Go to the Home page
   

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

May, 1996


Research Findings


Epidemiology, Etiology and Prevention Research


Drug Use and Violence

Data was analyzed from two waves (7th grade and young adulthood) of a multiwave longitudinal study to examine the moderating influence of levels of self derogation and antisocial personality on the relationship between early drug use and later violence among subjects who were free of violence at the earlier time of measurement (N=4,536). Using logistic regression techniques, a significant main effect between drug use and later violence was observed, controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, father's education, other forms of deviance, and antisocial personality. Adolescent drug use increased the likelihood of later deviance for subjects exhibiting high derogation, but not for those exhibiting low derogation. The effect of drug use on later violence for low derogation subjects was suppressed by countervailing effects of antisocial personality. Among subjects with low levels of self derogation who have low levels of antisocial personality, drug use leads to higher levels of violence, but for those who have low levels of self derogation and high levels of antisocial personality, drug use decreases the probability of later violence. Among low-self derogating individuals, drug use seems to have a suppressing effect on violence for those prone to violence, while having a disinhibiting effect on those not prone to violence. These findings suggest a positive relationship between drug use and violence for well socialized individuals, and a negative relationship between drug use and later violence for those who are not well socialized and are prone to violence. Kaplan, and Damphouse, "Self-Attitudes and Antisocial Personality as Moderators of the Drug Use-Violence Relationship" in Drugs, Crime and Other Deviant Adaptations: Longitudinal Studies, edited by H.B. Kaplan. Plenum Press, New York, 1995.


Gene Variants Associated with Dopamine Have Additive Effects on ADHD Symptoms

David Comings and colleagues at the City of Hope (Duarte, CA) have been studying variants of a variety of genes associated with the dopamine system and their association with disorders and behaviors comorbid with drug abuse. In one study, it was found that individuals who possessed all three of the rarer alleles--Taq A1 of the dopamine D2 receptor gene, Taq B1 of the dopamine ß-hydroxylase gene, and the 10/10 (repeats) of the dopamine transporter gene--had the most Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms. Those with two of the three alleles had fewer symptoms but still clinically labeled with the disorder. One allele yielded a borderline ADHD score; none of the alleles yielded a normal score. Comings, D.E., Wu, H., Chiu, C., Ring, R.H., Gade, R., Ahn, C., MacMurray, J.P., Deitz, g., Muhleman, D. "Polygenic Inheritance of Tourette Syndrome, Stuttering, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, Conduct and Oppositional Defiant Disorder: The Additive and Subtractive Effect of Three Dopaminergic Genes-- DRD2, DßH, DAT1, American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychological Genetics. These findings along with several others nearing completion contribute to the notion of a genetic basis for a "reward deficiency syndrome" consisting of addictive, impulsive, and compulsive behavior, and personality disorders. Blum, K., Cull, J.G., Braverman, E.R., & Comings, D.E. "Reward Deficiency Syndrome," American Scientist, 84, pp, 132-145, 1996.


Substance Abuse and Gender Differences

In a study exploring the effect of gender on circumstances surrounding initiation and escalation of binge drinking, marijuana use, and the use of other illicit drugs, support was found for literature regarding differential motives and consequences as a result of differential socialization. Surrounding literature asserts that gender affects the relevance of peer influence, need to enhance self-importance and sense of power, conflictive consequences, sensation seeking as a motive, and reduction of distress in initiation and escalation of the use of alcohol and drugs. The study examined young adults' self reported circumstances surrounding initiation and escalation of alcohol and other substances. The sample consisted of 6,074 subjects from a longitudinal study that began in 1971 with a random 50% sample of Houston Independent School District 7th grade students (in 1971, N=9,335), who were re-interviewed in 1980. Respondents were asked if they had ever consumed alcohol and each of a list of drugs, and were further asked about heavy use of drugs and alcohol. Respondents were also asked about general circumstances (motives, expectations, and perceived consequences) before initial use and later abuse of drugs and alcohol, situations one week prior to initial drug and alcohol use and later abuse. Logistic regression controlled for race, socioeconomic status, and tendency to over or under endorse items.

General findings show that males are more likely than females to enhance their sense of self importance through the use of alcohol and illicit drugs, and are more likely than females to feel powerful and important through drug and alcohol use. Males are also more likely than females to engage in alcohol and drug use to gain peer approval and as a means of social bonding with peers. Males are more likely than females to be motivated to use alcohol and drugs for personal problems and in circumstances of low self-worth and depression. Other gender effects were substance specific or contingent upon socioeconomic status. This is attributable to the differential effects and social contexts of alcohol and drug use.

Liu and Kaplan, Gender Related Differences in Circumstances Surrounding Initiation and Escalation of Alcohol and Other Substance Use/Abuse. Deviant Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 17; pp. 71-106, 1996.


Childhood Irritability and Liability to Substance Use in Early Adolescence

Irritability may be a factor predicting the liability for psychoactive substance use disorder (PSUD), according to investigators at the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR) at the University of Pittsburgh. Sons of substance abusing fathers (n=40) and non substance abusing fathers (n=56) were studied when they were 10-12 years old and again at age 12-14. Assessments included an assay of cortisol concentration (a measure of stress reactivity); amplitude and latency of the N1, N2, N3, P1, P2, and P3 event-related potentials; psychomotor indicators of behavioral control; a family disruption index; an irritability scale; and drug use items. After modeling using hierarchical regression analysis, the results indicate that family dysfunction, stress state of the child, and low behavioral self-control additively account for a significant proportion of variance on irritability scores 2 years later, and that this trait, in conjunction with family discord, is associated with substance use as a coping response by early adolescence. These findings suggest that (1) drug seeking may be associated with attempts to stabilize affective dysregulation by pharmacological means, assuming that adolescents with such regulation problems would find the "normalizing" effect of psychoactive compounds especially reinforcing; or (2) adolescents with affective dysregulation concomitant to dispositional irritability may be marginalized by peers, leading them to socialize with more deviant and similarly marginalized individuals, who exhibit and tolerate non-normative behavior such as alcohol and drug use. Tarter, Blackson, Brigham, Moss, and Caprara. The Association Between Childhood Irritability and Liability to Substance Use in Early Adolescence: a 2-Year Follow-Up Study of Boys at Risk for Substance Abuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 39, pp. 253-261, 1995.


Paternal Alcoholism Predicts Rate of Growth of Adolescent Substance Use

Adolescents with alcoholic fathers not only are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, but their substance use increases at a more rapid rate than that of their non-children-of-alcoholic (COA) peers. These findings are based on a 3-year longitudinal study of 246 male and female COA's with at least one biological alcoholic parent who was also a custodial parent and 208 controls, with no alcoholic biological or custodial parents. Subjects were 10.5 to 15.5 years of age at initial recruitment, and computer-assisted interviews were administered annually to the adolescents and parents to ascertain measures of parental monitoring, association with drug-using peers, adolescent life stress, adolescent negative affect, emotionality and sociability, and adolescent substance use. Structural modeling and latent growth curve modeling showed that adolescents with alcoholic fathers were significantly more likely to use drugs and alcohol and also had a higher rate of growth of substance use. Maternal alcoholism was associated with elevated initial levels of adolescent substance use but did not predict the rate of growth. Hierarchical modeling also confirmed that parental monitoring, elevated environmental stress and negative affect, and elevated emotionality and sociability mediated the effects of parental alcoholism. Diminished paternal monitoring, for example, appeared to mediate the effects of the fathers' alcoholism on growth of substance use. Paternal alcoholism also was associated with higher environmental stress and resultant negative affect, which in turn was associated with affiliation with drug-using peers, providing another pathway. Despite these indications of mediators, paternal alcoholism retained significant direct effects. Chassin, Curran, Hussong, and Colder. The Relation of Parent Alcoholism to Adolescent Substance Use: A Longitudinal Follow-Up Study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(1), pp. 70-80, 1996.


Parent Drug Use, Parent Personality, and Parenting

This study examined the relationship of parent drug use and specific parent personality traits with four indicators of the parent-child bond: affection, child-centeredness, involvement, and nonconflictual relations. The participants (N = 71) were young mothers or fathers who have participated in a longitudinal study of 1,000 children and their parents from 1975 to the present. They answered a self administered questionnaire about themselves and their oldest child. Regression analyses indicated that the domains of parent drug use and parent personality had independent effects on most of the parentchild variables. Specific parent personality traits buffered the effect of drug use on aspects of the bond. The implications of these findings are that reducing parental drug use can have direct and positive effects on the parent-child bond and can enhance some parent personality traits, thus strengthening the bond. Protective personality characteristics can mitigate the impact of drug use on the bond. Brook, Whiteman, Balka, & Cohen, Parent Drug Use, Parent Personality and Parenting. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 156(2), pp. 137-151, 1995.


Aggression, Intrapsychic Distress, and Drug Use: Antecedent and Intervening Processes

The interrelation of childhood aggression, early and late adolescent intrapsychic distress, unconventionality, and drug use were explored. Data were obtained from the subjects when they were 5 to 10 years old. Follow-up interviews were conducted when the subjects were between 13 and 18 years old and again when they were 15 to 20 years old. A LISREL analysis indicated that childhood aggression was related to later intrapsychic distress, unconventionality, and drug use. There were significant pathways (1) from childhood aggression to drug use at 15 to 20 years of age with mediation through intrapsychic distress and unconventionality and (2) during adolescence there is a pathway from intrapsychic distress to unconventionality that leads to legal and subsequently illegal drug use. There was also considerable stability in intrapsychic distress, unconventionality, and drug use. lntrapsychic distress and unconventionality are important mediators of childhood aggression and adult drug use. Brook, Whiteman, Finch, & Cohen, Aggression, Intrapsychic Distress and Drug Use: Antecedent and Intervening Processes. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34(8), pp. 1076-1083, 1995.


Longitudinally Predicting Late Adolescent and Young Adult Drug Use: Childhood and Adolescent Precursors

The childhood and adolescent personality determinants of young adult drug use were examined. Data were obtained on children when they were approximately 5.5 (Tl), 14 (T2), 16 (T3), and 22 (T4) years of age. T2-T4 interviews of subjects and their mothers assessed child personality and behavior. At Tl, 976 mothers were interviewed. The analysis was based on 734 subjects. Specific childhood and adolescent personality traits were related to stage of drug use in young adulthood. Regressions showed that (1) traits at T2 and T3 mediated the effect of traits at earlier ages on T4 drug use and (2) stage of drug use was stable from T3 to T4 despite controlling for personality. Significant interactions revealed two buffers weakening the effect of T3 drug use on T4 drug use. Many more Tl-T3 personality traits, particularly low aggression, enhanced the effect of low T3 use on T4 use. Earlier findings that childhood personality is related to adolescent personality and then to drug use were extended to young adulthood. This mediational model indicates the stability of personality across development. Sources of this stability and that of drug use are discussed. Despite this stability, other results suggest ways to modify drug use. Brook, Whiteman, Cohen, Shapiro, & Balka, Longitudinally Predicting Late Adolescent and Young Adult Drug Use: Childhood and Adolescent Precursors. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34(9), pp. 1230-1238, 1995.


Psychosocial Risk and Protective Factors, Multiple and Specific Drug Use and Needle Sharing in Male IVDAs

Only a few authors have examined the influences of multiple and specific drug use on needle sharing in IVDAS. The authors studied the influences of multiple and specific drug use on needle sharing in a cohort of male IVDAS. Subjects were 294 male intravenous drug abusers, 35% of whom were in methadone treatment, and 41% of whom were HIV positive. Subjects were given individually administered interviews using structured questionnaires. Using logistic regression analysis, the authors found that cocaine and heroin use, including that given by non-parenteral routes of administration, were the most important individual drug correlates distinguishing needle sharers from non-needle sharers. As the total number of drugs used increased from one to five, the risk of needle sharing with both familiar people and strangers increased. This effect of the number of drugs used was modified by family protective factors, such as parental support, significant other support, own childhood warmth and identification, and family conflict. Heroin and cocaine use, and multiple drug use, are risk factors for needle-sharing behavior among male IVDAS. Brook, Brook, Wynn, Masci, Roberto, & de Catalogne, J. Psychosocial Risk and Protective Factors, Multiple and Specific Drug Use and Needle Sharing in Male IVDAS. American Journal on Addictions, 4, pp. 118-126, 1995.


The Reciprocal Influence of Punishment and Childhood Behavior Disorder

This paper examines the nature of the linkages between punishment and conduct problems. In this study children were originally sampled in 1975 (Tl) when they were ages 1 to 10. A second follow-up series of interviews completed in 1985-86 (T3) included 96% of those seen in the first follow-up, as well as about half of those who were located but with whom we were not able to schedule interviews in 1983. In each family, interviews were carried out with one parent, usually the mother, and, for the follow-up interviews, the study child. Mothers and children were interviewed simultaneously but separately in their homes by two trained interviewers. Psychiatric diagnoses including conduct disorder were assessed by structured diagnostic interviews of mother and youth using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC) (Costello, Edelbrock, Dulcan, & Kalas, 1984), as modified and supplemented by this group. Investigators first obtained the measure of punishment in the interviews of mothers when the children were ages 1 to 10. Mothers indicated which of a series of power-assertive techniques of controlling or disciplining the child they had employed during the previous month. The authors concluded that the causal effect of punishment on conduct disorder is real. Although the frequency of use of coercive methods is undoubtedly substantially influenced by the operant behavior of the child during early childhood, on the whole, the magnitude of the estimates and the fact that the influence begins so early in life led the authors to conclude that the predominant influence is from punishment for conduct problems. Once begun, punishment has a more potent negative effect on the temperamentally vulnerable. Results of this study indicate that punishment practices take on a stability during later childhood and adolescence that is uninfluenced by the level of the child's problem behavior. However, they continue to have a negative influence on the child's behavior. Cohen, & Brook, The Reciprocal Influence of Punishment and Childhood Behavior Disorder. In J. McCord (Ed.), Coercion and Punishment in Long-Term Perspectives (pp. 154-164). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1995.


Childhood Aggression and Unconventionality: Impact on Later Academic Achievement, Drug Use, and Workforce Involvement

The interrelation of childhood aggression, unconventionality, academic orientation, work involvement, and drug use was explored. Data was obtained for the subjects when they were 5-10 years old. Follow-up interviews were conducted when the subjects were 15-20 years old and again at 21-26 years old. Using latent variable causal analysis, the findings revealed long-term relations between early childhood aggression and adolescent problem behavior in the academic and occupational areas. The findings also indicated that adolescent drug use generates an early involvement with adult role behaviors, such as work at the expense of further education. Implications of the findings for prevention are discussed. Brook & Newcomb, Childhood Aggression and Unconventionality: Impact on Later Academic Achievement, Drug Use, and Workforce Involvement. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 4, pp. 393-410, 1995.


Effects of Parent Drug Use and Personality on Toddler Adjustment

This study is an attempt to examine the interrelation between parent drug use and parent personality on their 18month-old children's adjustment. Data on the parents were available at four points in time. Time 1 (Tl) at mean age 6.1, Time 2 (T2) at mean age 13.7, Time 3 (T3) at mean age 16.4, and at Time 4 (T4) at mean age 22.2. Data on their toddlers at 18 months old were also available. The subjects were given structured interviews assessing their personality and drug use and their toddler's adjustment. T3 parent personality traits were related to T4 personality traits which in turn were related to the toddler's adjustment. The influence of parent alcohol involvement (T3) in the toddler's adjustment was mediated by parent personality (T3, T4) and parent alcohol problems (T4). Interactive effects demonstrated that protective parent personality traits (non-drug conducive) enhanced the effects of low parent drug use resulting in the highest amounts of toddler adjustment. There are significant pathways between parent personality and drug use and toddler adjustment. Parent protective factors enhance parent low drug use on toddler adjustment. Brook, Whiteman, Shapiro, & Cohen, Effects of Parent Drug Use and Personality on Toddler Adjustment. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157(1), pp. 19-35, 1996.


A Multiple Risk Interaction Model: Effects of Temperament and Divorce on Psychiatric Disorder

Effects of family status on the trajectory of problematic temperament adjustment at one to 10 years of age and associated psychiatric disturbance eight years later were examined in an epidemiological sample of 648 children. After adjusting for predivorce temperament-adjustment and background factors, logistic regression yielded independent effects of single custodial mother (SCM) family status for increased risk of disruptive and anxiety disorders, and of stepfamily status for increased risk of disruptive disorders. Increased risk of psychiatric disorder was more pervasive for SCM family boys versus intact family boys than for SCM family girls versus intact family girls, however only significantly more so for depression. No significant gender interaction was observed for stepfamily status. When girls and boys were treated independently, pattern of family status and outcomes of internalizing disorders varied. In step families, an elevated risk of depression and anxiety disorder was observed in girls but not boys, whereas in SCM families an elevated risk of depression was observed in boys but not girls. Within each family status group there was support for an altered risk of later psychiatric disorder given specific problematic predivorce temperament-adjustment characteristics. Kasen, Cohen, Brook, & Hartmark. A Multiple Risk Interaction Model: Effects of Temperament and Divorce on Psychiatric Disorder in Children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, In Press.


The Relation of Parent Alcoholism in Adolescent Substance Use: A Longitudinal Follow-Up Study

Researchers tested parent alcoholism effects on growth curves of adolescent substance use, and whether parent and peer influences, temperamental characteristics, and stress could explain parent alcoholism effects. Participants were 316 families from a 3-year longitudinal study of children of alcoholics (COAs) and demographically matched controls. Adolescents (mean age = 12.7 at Time 1) and their parents received 3 computer-assisted interviews at annual intervals. Latent growth curve modeling showed that COAs, boys, and adolescents with drug-using peers showed steeper growth over time in substance use than did non-COAs, those without drug-using peers, and girls. Data was consistent with father's monitoring, stress, and peer drug use as mediators of COA risk, but these factors did not completely account for paternal alcoholism effects. The findings underscore the importance of parental alcoholism risk because the environmental socialization factors could not entirely explain why adolescent COAs are at increased risk. Chassin, Curran, Hussong, Colder. The Relation of Parent Alcoholism to Adolescent Substance Use: A Longitudinal Follow-Up Study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 1996.


The Patterns and Predictors of Smokeless Tobacco Use Onset Among Urban Public School Teenagers

This study describes the patterns and predictors of smokeless tobacco (ST) use in large sample of urban public school students (grades 7 and 8) in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The use of ST is more common among men than women and among Caucasians than African Americans, Hispanics and others. Approximately 20% of the male respondents and 5% of the female respondents reported use of ST at least once, and 10.1% of male students and 3.1% of female students who had never tried ST by seventh grade started to use it by eighth grade. Among Caucasians, about 30% of boys reported trying ST at least once and 13.7% of those who had never used ST by seventh grade initiated experimentation by eighth grade. These data were used to examine the family, peer, and intrapersonal predictors of ST use onset. The family risk factors for ST onset included living with a single parent, parent-child conflict, and parental alcohol use. The peer risk factors for ST use included peer drug use and activities with friends, such as parties and participation in sports. The intrapersonal risk factors included poor grades in school, risk taking, and stress. The study also shows that those who use cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana are at highest risk of using ST and vice versa. This study supports a problem-prone behavior perspective of ST use and cigarette smoking suggesting that both products be targeted by prevention programs that counteract risk factors for problem-prone behavior. Hu, F.B., Hedeker, D., Flay, B.R., Susman, S., Day, L.E., Siddiqui, O. The Patterns and Predictors of Smokeless Tobacco Onset Among Urban Public School Teenagers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine,
12(1), pp. 22-28, 1996.


The Relationship Between Parent and Offspring Comorbid Disorders

Data concerning alcohol and drug abuse and dependence, depression, and anti-social behaviors among both subjects and their parents were obtained from a community sample of 1,201 young adults. Although 35% of the sample exhibited alcohol abuse or dependence, 14% marijuana or cocaine abuse or dependence, and 22% reported a parent positive for alcoholism, evidence of comorbidity with depression or antisocial personality was generally rare among both parents and subjects. Over one third of the subjects were negative both for family history and any disorder of their own and 20% reported a problem in both themselves and in one or both parents. These findings lend only partial support for Winokur's depression spectrum disease hypothesis, in that diagnosed children of depressed-only families have a 30% chance of exhibiting substance abuse or dependence alone, whereas diagnosed children of alcoholic-only families have only a 7% chance of exhibiting depression alone. Johnson, V. The Relationship Between Parent and Offspring Comorbid Disorders. Journal of Substance Abuse, 7, pp. 267-280, 1995.


The Relationship Between Sensation Seeking and Delinquency: A Longitudinal Analysis

A sample of 584 male and female adolescents were studied at two points in time to determine the relationship between self-reported delinquency and sensation seeking. Analyses of variance and covariance were used to test the effect of delinquency status and frequency of minor delinquent activity on sensation seeking at Time 1 and on changes in sensation seeking from Time 1 to Time 2. Results indicated that delinquency and sensation seeking are related in adolescence regardless of sex: those adolescents who are delinquent score significantly higher on the Disinhibition scale. This finding was not obtained for experience seeking. One implication of the findings is that rates of minor delinquency could be lowered by providing high sensation seekers with socially approved opportunities for meeting their sensation-seeking needs. White, H.B., Labouvie, E., Bates, M. The Relationship Between Sensation Seeking and Delinquency: A Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 22(3), pp. 197-211, 1995.


Cessation of Cocaine Use

This study explores factors that are related to cessation of cocaine use versus continued use in a non-clinical sample of adolescents and young adults. Data was collected as part of the Rutgers Health and Human Development Project, a prospective longitudinal study of 1,380 New Jersey adolescents who were tested initially at the ages of 12, 15, and 18 years and retested on two occasions until the ages of 18, 21, and 24 years (92% follow-up rate across the three measurement occasions). Cocaine stoppers (N=104) and current users (N=267) were compared in terms of age and sex, patterns of contemporary and prior drug use, life style characteristics, and a selected group of social learning variable. Cocaine stoppers and users had similar patterns of drug use at early points in time, but users had higher current frequencies of all types of drug use. In addition, those youth who stopped using cocaine were more likely to be married and have children than those who currently used, but the two groups did not differ in terms of career/school status. The data lent partial support to a social learning perspective and indicated that differential associations and punishments were most strongly related to cessation. In addition, users reported more dependency symptoms than did stoppers. Overall, the results suggested that friends' use, negative physical consequences of cocaine, and life style changes were factors that contributed most to cocaine use cessation. White, H.R., Bates, M.E. Cessation from Cocaine Use. Addiction, 90, pp. 947-957, 1995.


Young Adult Substance Use - Predictors and Consequences

Longitudinal data on substance use of 345 adolescents, from five overlapping age cohorts (11-15) in the Pacific Northwest, measured at four annual time points, were analyzed using Latent Growth Modeling (LGM). An associative cohort-sequential model was tested for alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use. Hypotheses concerning the shape of the growth curve, the extent of individual differences in the common trajectory over time, and the influence of family cohesion, peer encouragement, and gender on initial substance use and shape of the growth curve were tested. Results indicated similar upward trends in the initial use and development of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, the greatest increase occurring between 13-14 years. Peer encouragement influenced the developmental trajectories. Females were higher than males in initial status and developed less rapidly in their use of the substances than did males. The similar developmental trajectories across substances and the contradictory influences of family and peers suggest early intervention efforts aimed at both domains are necessary. Duncan, T.E., Tildesley, E., Duncan, S.C., Hops, H. The Consistency of Family and Peer Influences on the Development of Substance Use in Adolescence. Addiction, 90, pp. 1647-1660, 1995.


Drugs and Homicide by Women

Data from 215 female homicide offenders incarcerated or on parole in New York were examined for subjects' drug use prior to and at the time of the homicide, their victims' drug use, and their perceptions as to the drug-relatedness of the homicides. Semistructured, conversational interviews we conducted in order to obtain detailed quantitative and qualitative data focusing on drug use histories and the homicide events for which respondents were incarcerated. Approximately 7 out of 10 respondents had been regular users at some point in their lives prior to their incarceration, while over half had been addicted to a substance. Over one-third of the respondents who were present at the scene were high on a drug at the time, while about half of the victims of these homicides used drugs before the homicide. Almost two-thirds of the homicides committed by respondents who were present at the scene were perceived to be drug-related. Alcohol, crack, and powdered cocaine were the drugs most likely to be related to these homicides. Many respondents acknowledged the need for alcohol and drug programs and comprehensive aftercare programs. Spunt, B.I., Brownstein, H.M., Cammins, S.M. and Langley, S. Drugs and Homicide by Women. Substance Use and Misuse, 31 (7), pp. 825-845, 1996.


Drug Use by Homicide Offenders

Interviews were conducted with 268 homicide offenders (97% of whom were male) incarcerated in New York State correctional facilities to examine their drug use prior to and at the time of the homicide, and their perceptions as to whether and how the homicides were related to their drug use. Most respondents who used a drug were not hardcore users of that drug. About one in five of the respondents could be considered polydrug abusers. Thirty percent of the sample believed that the homicide was related to their drug use. Alcohol was the drug most likely to be implicated in these homicides. This research suggests that the common wisdom that violence primarily occurs either when people are seeking drugs or as a result of buying or selling drugs need to be reconsidered. Spunt, Brownstein, Goldstein, Fendrich, Liberty. Drug Use By Homicide Offenders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 27 (2), pp. 122-134, 1995.


Understanding the Effects of Adolescent Drug Use Prevention Interventions

While outcome research has shown that drug prevention programs based on theories of social influence may prevent the onset of adolescent drug use, little is known empirically about the processes through which they have their effects. The purpose of this study was to evaluate intervening mechanism theories of two program models for preventing the onset of adolescent drug use: normative education and resistance training. Analyses of 3077 fifth graders participating in the Adolescent Alcohol Prevention Trial revealed that both normative education and resistance training activated the causal processes they targeted. While beliefs about prevalence and acceptability significantly mediated the effects of normative education on subsequent adolescent drug use, resistance skills did not significantly predict subsequent adolescent drug use. More impressively, this pattern of results was virtually the same across sex, ethnicity, context (public verses private school students), drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana), and levels of risk; and, was durable across time. These findings strongly suggest that successful social influence-based prevention programs may be driven primarily by their ability to foster social norms that reduce an adolescent's social motivation to begin using alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. Donaldson, S.I., Graham, J.W., & Hansen, W.B. Testing the Generalizability of Intervening Mechanism Theories: Understanding the Effects of Adolescent Drug Use Prevention Interventions. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17(2), pp. 195-216, 1994.


The Effect of a Multi-Dimensional Anabolic Steroid Prevention Intervention

A team-based educational intervention to reduce adolescent athletes' intent to use anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) was tested using a randomized, prospective trial. Thirty-one high school football teams involving 547 adolescent football players at schools whose students received an intervention and 696 players at control schools participated in the study. Experimental subjects were given seven weekly 50-minute class sessions delivered by coaching staff and student team leaders which addressed AAS effects, sports nutrition and strength training alternatives to AAS use, drug refusal role play, and anti-AAS media messages. Seven weightroom sessions were taught by research staff. A pre- and post-intervention questionnaire assessed intent to use AAS, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding drug use and diet, exercise, and risk factors for adolescent AAS use. Compared to controls, experimental subjects had significantly reduced post-intervention intent to use AAS, improved eating habits, increased exercise behavior, greater understanding of AAS effects, greater belief in personal vulnerability to AAS, more anti-AAS attitudes, reduced impulsivity and hostility, improved perception of athletic abilities, stronger belief that coaches and parents were against AAS use, more competent drug refusal skills, and less belief in media messages. A team-based approach to improve other adolescent behaviors and risk factors warrants strong consideration. Goldberg, L. et al. The A.T.L.A.S. (Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) Program: The Effect of a Multi-Dimensional Anabolic Steroid Prevention Intervention, JAMA Olympic Edition, In Press, July 1996.


Dropouts and Drug Use

Problem prone behaviors of White American, Mexican American, and American Indian high school dropouts, students in good academic standing and students in poor academic standing were surveyed. Generally, dropouts were most involved with drugs, perpetration of violence, and being victimized by violence with students in poor standing the next most involved and students in good standing the least. Ethnicity did not interact with academic status, suggesting differences between dropouts and students were similar across ethnic groups. Some ethnicity and gender main effects were found. Findings were related to Jessor's theory of problem prone behaviors, to peer cluster theory and to intervention design. Beauvais, F, et al. Drug Use, Violence and Victimization Among White American, Mexican American, and American Indian Dropouts: Students with Academic Problems, and Students in Good Academic Standing, Journal of Counseling Psychology, In Press.


Anger Reduction

High anger 6-8th graders received cognitive-relaxation coping skills (CRCS) social skills training (SST) or no treatment. Compared to the control, CRCS and SST were equally effective in reducing trait, general, and personal-situational anger, and outward negative anger expression as well as increasing controlled anger expression. On some variables regarding shyness and one measure of anxiety, CRCS showed some superiority. No between group differences were found on self-esteem, alcohol consumption, or intoxication. Deffenbacher, J. et al. Anger Reduction in Early Adolescents, Journal of Counseling Psychology, In Press.


Perceptions of Social Pathology and the Etiology of Drug Addiction

Dr. David Nurco and associates surveyed three groups of adult males (drug addicts, peer controls, and community controls) about their perceptions of the neighborhoods where they lived at ages 12 through 14. Clear differences arose, with addicts perceiving the greatest amount of deviance and community controls the least. These findings raise questions about attitudes and events that take place in early adolescence and subsequent addiction. Nurco, D. N., T. Kinlock,
K. O'Grady, M. Lerner, and T. E. Hanlon. Perceptions of Social Pathology in the Neighborhood and the Etiology of Narcotic Addiction: A Retrospective Study, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 184(1), pp. 35-42, 1996.


[Home Page][Office of the Director][Report Index][Previous Report Section] [Next Report Section]

Archive Home | Accessibility | Privacy | FOIA (NIH) | Current NIDA Home Page
National Institutes of Health logo_Department of Health and Human Services Logo The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Questions? See our Contact Information. . The U.S. government's official web portal