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paper 44

REASONS FOR USE, ABSTENTION, AND QUITTING

ILLICIT DRUG USE BY AMERICAN ADOLESCENTS:

A Report Commissioned by the Drugs-Violence Task Force

of the National Sentencing Commission

Lloyd D. Johnston

2

REASONS FOR USE, ABSTENTION, AND QUITTING

ILLICIT DRUG USE BY AMERICAN ADOLESCENTS:

A Report Commissioned by the Drugs-Violence Task Force

of the National Sentencing Commission

Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper 44

Lloyd D. Johnston, Ph.D.

Institute for Social Research

The University of Michigan

1998

i

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES....................................................................................................................... iii

LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................................... iii

INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................................1

METHODS....................................................................................................................................1

STAGES OF DRUG INVOLVEMENT.......................................................................................2

THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN DRUGS AND CRIME......................................................4

REASONS FOR DRUG USE, ABSTENTION, AND QUITTING ...........................................6

Self-Reported Reasons for Use............................................................................................6

Self-Reported Reasons for Abstention.................................................................................8

A THEORY OF DRUG EPIDEMICS .......................................................................................14

The Growth Phase..............................................................................................................16

Awareness ..............................................................................................................16

Access ....................................................................................................................16

Motivation to use ...................................................................................................17

Reassurance about the safety of a drug..................................................................20

Willingness to violate laws and predominant social norms...................................20

The Maintenance Phase .....................................................................................................21

The Decline Phase .............................................................................................................21

The Relapse Phase .............................................................................................................23

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS..........................................................................................26

REFERENCES............................................................................................................................27

ii

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Long-Term Trends in Annual Prevalence of Various Types of Drugs

for Twelfth Graders................................................................................................15

Table 2. Motivations for Using Drugs ................................................................................17

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Covariance Over Time in Interpersonal Aggression, Property Crime,

and Drug Use at the Aggregate Level, Twelfth Graders ....................................... 3

Figure 2. Marijuana: Self-Reported Reasons for Use, Twelfth Graders 91-94 ..................... 5

Figure 3. Cocaine: Self-Reported Reassons for Use, Twelfth Graders 91-94 ...................... 7

Figure 4. Marijuana: Reasons for Abstentin and Quitting ...................................................10

Figure 5. Cocaine: Reasons for Abstention and Quitting .....................................................12

Figure 6. Crack: Reasons for Abstention and Quitting ........................................................19

Figure 7. Marijuana: Trends in Perceived Availability, Perceived Risk of Regular Use,

and Prevalence of Use in Past Thirty Days, Twelfth Graders ..............................23

Figure 8. Cocaine: Trends in Perceived Availability, Perceived Risk of Regular Use,

and Prevalence of Use in Past Thirty Days, Twelfth Graders ..............................25

Reasons for Use, Abstention, and Quitting

1

INTRODUCTION

This paper is an abbreviated text of a lengthy invited presentation to the Drugs-Violence

Task Force of the National Sentencing Commission in the spring of 1995. The author was asked

to

...

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