U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Alcohol, Cannabis, Ecstasy and Cocaine: Drugs of Reasoned Choice Amongst Young Adult Recreational Drug Users in England

NCJ Number
International Journal of Drug Policy Volume: 12 Issue: 5/6 Dated: December 1, 2001 Pages: 397-413
Lisa Williams; Howard Parker
Date Published
17 pages
This paper describes the current drug consumption patterns of a cohort of English young adults who have been tracked longitudinally since they were 14 years old.
The study compared their tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug consumption at 22 years old (n=465) with drug consumption when they were 18 years old (n=529), relying on self-report questionnaires and in-depth interviews. It further explored whether a sample of drug-using adolescents was beginning to reduce their substance use as young adults. The study found that the cohort largely maintained its drug consumption habits at rates identical to those at 19 years old, with rates for current tobacco smoking being 35.5 percent, regular drinking 82.3 percent ongoing drug involvement 52.1 percent (past year, any drug), and more regular use 31.2 percent (past month, any drug). Current drug involvement was increasingly dominated by cannabis, however. A minority continued to use ecstasy. LSD and amphetamine use declined, but cocaine experimentation and use increased dramatically. The mixing and combining of substances was common. Hedonistic motives for the use of substances remains, but are now joined by the need to use psycho-active drugs "sensibly" to relax and reduce stress. This style of recreational drug use by generally conforming young adults challenges the current national drug strategy, which has the potential to label such people as criminals. 8 tables and 47 references


No download available