The natural history of drug use from adolescence to the mid-thirties in a general population

Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 02/1995; 85(1):41-7. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.85.1.41
Source: PubMed


This study sought to describe patterns of initiation, persistence, and cessation in drug use in individuals from their late 20s to their mid-30s, within a broad perspective that spans 19 years from adolescence to adulthood.
A fourth wave of personal interviews was conducted at ages 34-35 with a cohort of men and women (n = 1160) representative of adolescents formerly enrolled in New York State public secondary high schools. A school survey was administered at ages 15-16, and personal interviews with participants and school absentees were conducted at ages 24-25 and 28-29. Retrospective continuous histories of 12 drug classes were obtained at each follow-up.
There was no initiation into alcohol and cigarettes and hardly any initiation into illicit drugs after age 29, the age at which most use ceased. The largest proportion of new users was observed for prescribed psychoactives. Periods of highest use since adolescence based on relative and absolute criteria were delineated. Among daily users, the proportions of heavy users declined for alcohol and marijuana but not for cigarettes.
Cigarettes are the most persistent of any drug used. Drug-focused interventions must target adolescents and young adults.

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    • "Cannabis use typically starts in adolescence, with heaviest use generally reported during the teenage years (Chen and Kandel, 1995). An estimated 17% of 15–16 year olds in Europe and 34% in the United States have taken cannabis at least once (Hibell et al., 2012; Miech et al., 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is much debate about the impact of adolescent cannabis use on intellectual and educational outcomes. We investigated associations between adolescent cannabis use and IQ and educational attainment in a sample of 2235 teenagers from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. By the age of 15, 24% reported having tried cannabis at least once. A series of nested linear regressions was employed, adjusted hierarchically by pre-exposure ability and potential confounds (e.g. cigarette and alcohol use, childhood mental-health symptoms and behavioural problems), to test the relationships between cumulative cannabis use and IQ at the age of 15 and educational performance at the age of 16. After full adjustment, those who had used cannabis ⩾50 times did not differ from never-users on either IQ or educational performance. Adjusting for group differences in cigarette smoking dramatically attenuated the associations between cannabis use and both outcomes, and further analyses demonstrated robust associations between cigarette use and educational outcomes, even with cannabis users excluded. These findings suggest that adolescent cannabis use is not associated with IQ or educational performance once adjustment is made for potential confounds, in particular adolescent cigarette use. Modest cannabis use in teenagers may have less cognitive impact than epidemiological surveys of older cohorts have previously suggested.
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    • "Recent studies of commonly abused drugs have focused on elucidating neurobiological differences between adolescent and adult responses to drug exposure. This is because drug use typically starts during adolescence (Chen & Kandel 1995, Degenhardt et al. 2008, Nelson et al. 1995) when the brain is still developing (Giedd et al. 1999), and adolescents respond differently to drugs as compared to adults in ways that appear to increase their risk for dependence (Schramm-Sapyta et al. 2009, Zakharova et al. 2009, Collins & Izenwasser 2002, Laviola et al. 1999). Cocaine use often begins in adolescence and can lead to long-lasting impacts on quality of life (Lawrence et al. 2008, Weiss et al. 2001, Koob & Volkow 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Neurochemical differences in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis between individuals and between ages may contribute to differential susceptibility to cocaine abuse. This study measured peptide levels in the pituitary gland (Pit) and lateral hypothalamus (LH) in adolescent (age 30 days) and adult (age 65 days) mice from four standard inbred strains, FVB/NJ, DBA/2J, C57BL/6J, and BALB/cByJ, which have previously been characterized for acute locomotor responses to cocaine. Individual peptide profiles were analyzed using mass spectrometric profiling and principal component analysis (PCA). Sequences of assigned peptides were verified by tandem mass spectrometry. PCA classified all strains according to their distinct peptide profiles in Pit samples from adolescent mice, but not adults. Select proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides were significantly higher in adolescent BALB/cByJ and DBA/2J mice than in FVB/NJ or C57BL/6J mice. A subset of peptides in the LH, but not in the Pit, was altered by cocaine in adolescents. A 15 mg/kg dose of cocaine induced greater peptide alterations than a 30 mg/kg dose, particularly in FVB/NJ animals, with larger differences in adolescents than adults. Neuropeptides in the LH affected by acute cocaine administration included POMC-, myelin basic protein-, and glutamate transporter-derived peptides. The observed peptide differences could contribute to differential behavioral sensitivity to cocaine among strains and ages. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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    • "undergraduate drinking patterns. Although the majority of U.S. college students are younger than the legal drinking age of 21, periods of heavy alcohol consumption are most often reported during the ages of 18–21 (Chen and Kandel 1995). Recent research demonstrates that undergraduates report drinking more heavily than their non-college peers (Johnston et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluates associations between coping drinking motives (CDM; drinking to regulate negative affect), depressive symptoms, and drinking behavior and extends the literature by also taking into account gender differences. Two hundred forty-three college students (Mean age = 22.93, SD = 6.29, 82 % female) participated. Based on previous research, we expected that CDM would be positively associated with drinking and problems, particularly among those higher in depressive symptoms, as individuals experiencing higher levels of negative affect (i.e. depressive symptoms) and who drink to cope are likely to drink more and experience more alcohol-related problems. Lastly, based on established gender differences, we expected that CDM would be positively associated with drinking and problems, especially among females higher in depressive symptoms. Unexpectedly, findings suggested that CDMs were positively related to peak drinking, especially among those lower in depressive symptoms. Results further revealed a significant three-way interaction between CDM, depressive symptoms, and gender when predicting alcohol-related problems and drinking frequency. Specifically, we found that CDM were more strongly associated with problems among women who were lower in depressive symptoms; whereas CDM were more strongly associated with problems among men who were higher in depressive symptoms. These findings offer a more comprehensive depiction of the relationship between depressive symptoms, CDM, and drinking behavior by taking into account the importance of gender differences. These results provide additional support for considering gender when designing and implementing alcohol intervention strategies.
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