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Cannabis use a steppingstone to other drugs? The case of Amsterdam

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... Pudney (2001) uses British data and …nds that after taking individual heterogeneity into account there is hardly any relationship between the various types of drug use. A Dutch study on the relationship between various types of drug use is by Cohen and Sas (1999) who claim that they do not …nd indications of the stepping-stone hypothesis to be valid. ...
... Lifetime use of cannabis in Amsterdam was 36.3%, versus 10.5% in rural areas and the national average being 15.6%. 8 For cannabis the age of initiation is 20.3 in Amsterdam and 19.5 in rural areas. ...
... Abraham (1999) shows that there is a positive relationship between population density and drug use.8 This …gures are comparable to the 16% in France (1995), 13.9% in Germany (1993) and the 22.0% in the UK(1996). ...
Article
This paper uses a unique dataset collected among inhabitants of Amsterdam, to study the dynamics in the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and cocaine. From the data it appears that if people start using these drugs they are most likely to do that at age 16-18 for alcohol and tobacco and at age 18-20 for cannabis. For cocaine there is a wider age range of 20-25 when people are most likely to start. From an investigation of the interrelation in the timing of drugs use it appears that there is some evidence of a 'stepping stone' or 'gateway' from tobacco to cannabis and from cannabis to cocaine. However, the fact that there is multiple drug use has to do mostly with (unobserved) heterogeneity and not with the use of one drug causing the use of another. Tilburg, The Netherlands and CEPR; vanours@kub.nl. The author thanks CEDRO, the Research Institute for Research on Drugs of the University of Amsterdam for making their data available. This paper has bene…tted from comments made at sem-inars and workshops in Paris (TEAM), Tilburg, Leicester and Brussels (ECARES).
... Cannabis is the most frequently used illegal substance in the Western world (e.g., Anthony et al., 1994;Baumann and Phongsavan, 1999;Hall et al., 1999;Kraus and Augustin, 2001;Perkonigg et al., 2004;Smart and Ogborne, 2000;Sydow et al., 2001). Among the harmful consequences of cannabis use, strong associations between cannabis use and the secondary initiation of hard drug use have often been reported suggesting cannabis use as a potential risk factor for the onset of the use of other illegal drugs (e.g., Adler and Kandel, 1981;Cohen and Sas, 1997;Degenhardt et al., 2001;Fergusson and Horwood, 2000;Hall et al., 2001;Kandel and Faust, 1975;Kandel et al., 1992;Kandel, 2003;McCoun, for alternative hypotheses assuming a non-causal relationship. These concepts attribute the observed associations to other underlying factors, such as a shared genetic vulnerability, a drug use propensity/drug-taking disposition, or (a progression to) a more general deviant behavior pattern. ...
... Assumed mechanisms are, e.g., physiological and neurochemical sensitization processes (Cadoni et al., 2001;McCoun, 1998;Tanda et al., 1997;Tanda and Goldberg, 2003;Wickelgren, 1997) or the perception of cannabis effects as pleasant and as presumably not hazardous, increasing the curiosity to experiment with other illegal drugs (McCoun, 1998). A further mechanism that has been discussed is that cannabis users move into a social environment in which the use of cannabis but also the use of other illegal drugs is more likely with respect to social learning processes and a high encouragement to use illegal drugs (Cohen and Sas, 1997;Degenhardt et al., 2001;Fergusson and Horwood, 2000;Goode, 1974;McCoun, 1998). In this context, emphasize affiliation with drug using peers, socialization with an illegal drug subculture, and involvement in illegal drug markets, which frequently are the same for cannabis and other illegal drugs. ...
... There is a range of studies on cannabis and other illegal drugs dealing with the hypotheses on pathways mentioned above (e.g., Agrawal et al., 2004;Cohen and Sas, 1997;Degenhardt et al., 2001;Fergusson and Horwood, 2000;Yamaguchi and Kandel, 1984b). However, the particular relationship between cannabis and ecstasy, a 3,4-methylendioxy-N-methyl-amphetamin (MDMA), has to our knowledge never been studied systematically with respect to the availability of ecstasy as possible pathway from cannabis to subsequent ecstasy use. ...
Article
To explore the role of cannabis use for the availability of ecstasy as a potential pathway to subsequent first ecstasy use. Baseline and 4-year follow-up data from a prospective-longitudinal community study of originally 3021 adolescents and young adults aged 14-24 years at baseline were assessed using the standardized M-CIDI and DSM-IV criteria. Baseline cannabis users reported at follow-up more frequent access to ecstasy than cannabis non-users. Higher cannabis use frequencies were associated with increased ecstasy availability reports. Logistic regression analyses revealed that cannabis use and availability of ecstasy at baseline are predictors for incident ecstasy use during the follow-up period. Testing simultaneously the impact of prior cannabis use and ecstasy availability including potential confounders, the association with cannabis use and later ecstasy use was confirmed (OR=6.3; 95%CI=3.6-10.9). However, the association with ecstasy availability was no longer significant (OR=1.2; 95%CI=0.3-3.9). Results suggest that cannabis use is a powerful risk factor for subsequent first onset of ecstasy use and this relation cannot be sufficiently explained by availability of ecstasy in the observation period.
... Scientific input into the policy-making process received less attention mainly because, in this period of social and economic reconstruction (after two World Wars and an economic crisis), it was argued that scientific knowledge was fallible (De Ruyver 1988). For instance, the stepping-stone theory (Cohen and Sas, 1997), which argues that people who use alcohol or marijuana will probably go on to use drugs such as cocaine or heroin, was the basis of the framework regarding drugs. Although this theory was widely rejected by scientists because of the lack of evidence supporting any causality claim, it won considerable support among policy-makers, the media and public opinion (De Ruyver, 1988;2005). ...
... In particular, the municipalities were allowed to establish projects with regard to drug prevention, drug treatment and local drug coordination (Verslag namens de Parlementaire Werkgroep belast met het bestuderen van de drugproblematiek, Parl.St. Kamer, 1996-1997, 1062De Ruyver et al., 2004). For instance, the emergence of local medical-social treatment centres (MSOCs) for drug users, mobile drug-treatment centres and outreach projects were financed through contracts with the Ministries of Interior and Social Affairs. ...
... La aportación de datos científicos en el proceso de formulación de políticas recibió menos atención porque, en este período de reconstrucción social y económica (después de dos guerras y una crisis económica mundiales), imperó el argumento de que el conocimiento científico era falible (De Ruyver 1988). Por ejemplo, la teoría de la escalada (Cohen y Sas 1997), que sostiene que las personas que consumen alcohol o marihuana probablemente consumirán drogas como la cocaína o la heroína, fue la base del marco fundamental en relación con las drogas. Aunque esta teoría fue por lo general rechazada por la comunidad científica debido a la falta de pruebas contundentes que respaldaran cualquier supuesta causalidad, logró obtener un apoyo considerable entre las personas responsables de las políticas, los medios de comunicación y la opinión pública (De Ruyver 1988, 2005. ...
... A los municipios, más en concreto, se les permitiría iniciar proyectos en el ámbito de la prevención de drogas, el tratamiento de drogas y la coordinación local de drogas (Verslag namens de Parlementaire Werkgroep tothe met best best iseren van de drugproblematiek, Parl. St. Kamer 1996-1997, 1062De Ruyver et al. 2004). Por ejemplo, la aparición de centros locales de tratamiento médico-social (MSOC) para personas usuarias de drogas, centros ambulantes de tratamiento de drogas y muchos proyectos de proximidad se financió mediante convenios con los Ministerios del Interior y Asuntos Sociales. ...
... Few studies specifi cally on cannabis and deterrence were found in the European (English-language) literature [Kilmer 2001[Kilmer , 2003], but some are less directly relevant. Considerable research has been conducted in European countries on cannabis use, within the evolving normalisation perspective [Adridge, Measham and Williams 2011;Cohen and Sas 1996;Peretti-Watel 2003;Sandberg 2012;Shiner and Newburn 1997;van Vliet 1990]. As these investigators document the widespread social acceptability of recreational cannabis use and the declining stigma held even by nonusers, in the face of existing (though often not enforced) criminal penalties, the question remains as to how users understand the law and its application and how that might vary between country and culture. ...
... Respondents eligible for follow-up were those who reported that they had used cannabis on 25 or more occasions (N=274). This low use threshold was selected to facilitate recruitment of a suffi cient number of 'experienced' users, while excluding very occasional or shortterm experimental users, following the Dutch precedent [Cohen and Sas 1996]. The in-depth interview probed for more details on the reasons for use, positive and negative reactions, and their views on the risks of arrest, obtaining drugs, and other topics pertaining to the social meanings of their drug use [Hathaway, Kirst and Erickson 2013]. ...
Article
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Deterrence research has evolved considerably since the 1970s when a favourite offence for study was the emerging phenomenon of widespread cannabis use among mainstream populations. The deterrent model of crime prevention has expanded far beyond the study of objective and subjective indicators of certainty and severity to encompass social support, moral evaluations, peer involvement and, most recently, risk sensitivity and situational factors. Most earlier research found no evidence of deterrence of cannabis use, a finding attributed to its low actual and perceived risk of arrest and changes in public attitudes. This interview study with adult experienced cannabis users drawn from a representative survey base in Toronto, Canada, where possession is still treated as a criminal offence, provides a more nuanced interpretation of deterrence. The authors found that users had generally inaccurate knowledge about the current law and penalties and believed they would avoid arrest in the future. However, they were not oblivious to the possibility of police intervention, and took precautions such as carrying small amounts and avoiding public use. Thus, users were not unaffected by the law, but rather these discreet practices illustrate the operation of restrictive deterrence, shaping their choices of when, where and how to commit the crime of cannabis use. Further research on deterrence should examine situated choices by risk-sensitive offenders, and should also include cross-national patterns of arrest and user risk perceptions. While cannabis continues to be prohibited by international treaties, the reality of widespread use presents opportunities for innovative deterrence studies into this normalised yet illegal crime. The variation in policies, penalty structures and enforcement across European nations, compared to those in other Western jurisdictions, can foster relevant research for a transatlantic discussion about global drug policy transformation.
... Deze cijfers zijn wel een goede indicatie voor de mate waarin een bepaalde groep jongeren in contact komt met cannabis, maar zeggen niet zoveel over het actuele gebruik van cannabis onder jongeren. Uit de Amsterdamse bevolkingsonderzoeken komt namelijk naar voren dat slechts een klein deel (25-35%) van de jongeren dat ooit cannabis heeft gebruikt, dat ook in de laatste maand voor het onderzoek nog had gedaan (Cohen & Sas 1996). Ook uit tabel 1 blijkt dat cannabis bij een groot deel van de gebruikers slechts een tijdelijke aangelegenheid is: men probeert het een keer of een tijdje en stopt er dan kennelijk weer mee. ...
... Bij de inter- pretatie van fig. 5 moet wel rekening gehouden worden met de tijd die er kan zitten tussen het begin van het gebruik van cannabis en de overstap naar heroïne . Volgens de meeste onderzoeken zit er gemiddeld ongeveer 4-6 jaar tussen het begin met deze middelen (Cohen & Sas 1996;Wohlfarth & Koeter 1997). Met een dergelijk (klein) verschil kunnen de cannabis-en de heroïnecurves echter niet bij elkaar gebracht worden en van een duidelijke relatie tussen de ontwikkeling van het aantal cannabisgebruikers en de ontwikkeling van het aantal heroïneverslaafden kan in Nederland dan ook niet gesproken worden. ...
... Only 22% of those aged 12 than the USA. Only 22% of those aged 12 and over who have ever used cannabis have and over who have ever used cannabis have also used cocaine (Cohen & Sas, 1996). also used cocaine (Cohen & Sas, 1996). ...
... Only 22% of those aged 12 and over who have ever used cannabis have and over who have ever used cannabis have also used cocaine (Cohen & Sas, 1996). also used cocaine (Cohen & Sas, 1996). This compares to a figure of 33% for the This compares to a figure of 33% for the USA. ...
Article
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Cannabis policy continues to be controversial in North America, Europe and Australia. To inform this debate, we examine alternative legal regimes for controlling cannabis availability and use. We review evidence on the effects of cannabis depenalisation in the USA, Australia and The Netherlands. We update and extend our previous (MacCoun & Reuter, 1997) empirical comparison of cannabis prevalence statistics in the USA, The Netherlands and other European nations. The available evidence indicates that depenalisation of the possession of small quantities of cannabis does not increase cannabis prevalence. The Dutch experience suggests that commercial promotion and sales may significantly increase cannabis prevalence. Alternatives to an aggressively enforced cannabis prohibition are feasible and merit serious consideration. A model of depenalised possession and personal cultivation has many of the advantages of outright legalisation with few of its risks.
... Pudney (2001) uses British data and …nds that after taking individual heterogeneity into account there is hardly any relationship between the various types of drug use. A Dutch study on the relationship between various types of drug use is by Cohen and Sas (1999) who claim that they do not …nd indications of the stepping-stone hypothesis to be valid. ...
... They …nd noneconomic variables such as education, marital stress, race and gender to have a much larger impact than price or income on the probability and timing of initiating smoking. 8 As described before Ferguson and Horwood (2000) use the prior experience of cannabis as an explanatory factor in a proportional hazards duration model of the age of onset of use other illicit drugs. 9 The starting point in the current analysis is the mixed proportional hazard model with a ‡exible baseline hazard. ...
Article
This paper uses a unique dataset on the inhabitants of Amsterdam, to study the dynamics of the consumption of cannabis and cocaine. People are most likely to start using that drugs at ages 18-20 and 20-25. An analysis of the starting rates shows some evidence of cannabis being a "stepping-stone" for cocaine. However, the fact that some individuals use both cannabis and cocaine has to do mostly with correlation through (unobserved) personal characteristics and not with cannabis causing the use of cocaine.
... This concept is the main logic behind the legalization of cannabis in the Netherlands; to separate the markets for cannabis and hard drugs. This approach appears to have been at least somewhat effective; the risk of cocaine use as predicted by previous cannabis use is lower in the Netherlands than in America (Morral, McCaffrey & Paddock, 2002b), and cannabis users in the Netherlands seem less likely to move on to harder drugs, moving on mainly to recreational drugs such as ecstasy, and being less likely to become subsequently addicted (Cohen & Sas, 1997). ...
... This decision has been controversial, yet it appears to have effectively separated the market for cannabis and harder drugs (MacCoun & Reuter, 2005). Perhaps as a result of this, those who use cannabis in Holland are less likely to progress to using harder drugs than those in countries where cannabis is illegal (Cohen & Sas, 1997). Consequently a number of authors have discussed the potential benefits of other countries following suit and decriminalising cannabis (Van Den Brink, 2008). ...
... In this paper, we use the term 'hard drugs' to refer to the use of cocaine powder, crack or heroin; these drugs that can cause dependence, have been used widely since the 1960s, and have been the focus of much public policy concern. This regularity of the gateway sequence has been confirmed in numerous studies most of which have used samples drawn either from household or school populations (Andrews, Hops, Ary, Lichtenstein, & Tildesley, 1991;Blaze-Temple & Lo, 1992;Brook, Whiteman, & Gordon, 1982;Brook, Whiteman, Balka, & Hamburg, 1992;Cohen & Sas, 1997;Donovan & Jessor, 1983;Elliott, Huizinga, & Menard, 1989;Fergusson & Horwood, 2000;Fleming, Leventhal, Glynn & Ershler, 1989;Golub, Johnson, & Labouvie, 2000a;Golub, Labouvie, & Johnson, 2000b;Hays & Ellickson, 1991;Kandel, Yamaguchi, & Chen, 1992;Mills & Noyes, 1984;Welte & Barnes, 1985). ...
Article
Much research (mostly from general population surveys) suggests that people typically use alcohol, tobacco and then marijuana, so called ‘gateway drugs’, prior to any potential use of ‘hard drugs’ like cocaine powder, crack and heroin. Other research (mostly with surveys of special populations) indicates that hard-drug use is associated with numerous social problems such as crime, routine violence, and lower productivity. A muddled interpretation of these separate findings has been widely misused in support of the US drug abuse prevention policies to suggest that gateway drugs cause hard-drug use and its associated problems. This paper superimposes secondary analyses of data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) and the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program. The findings indicate that (1) extremely few members of the general population become persistent daily hard-drug-using criminal offenders; and (2) an increasing percentage of daily hard-drug-using criminal offenders did not follow the gateway sequence of substance use progression. These results strongly suggest that the use of gateway drugs by youths is not the central cause of hard-drug use and its associated problems. Thus, fighting the use of gateway drugs by youths may not be a particularly appropriate approach to drug abuse prevention.
... También hay diferencia si consideramos el consumo reciente, donde encontramos un 11 % en Nueva York frente a un 9,4% en Amsterdam (Cohén, 1989). Por otra parte, no se ha constatado que la despenalización de su consumo en Amsterdam a principios de los años 70, haya conducido en el presente a un "explosión" de consumo ni a un aumento considerable del consumo de otras drogas (Cohén, 1995 ; Cohén y Sas, 1996). Al comparar muestras de 1987,1990 y 1994 de consumidores de cannabis en Amsterdam, estos autores encontraron una estabilidad en porcentajes de prevalencia de vida por grupos de edad, alrededor de un 3% entre 12-15 años y de un 25% entre 16 y 19 años. ...
Article
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En este estudio se realiza una investigación básica sobre los aspectos que fundamentan los programas de prevención del consumo de drogas y la actual política de drogas, que tiene como objetivo afrontar el "problema de la droga". Así, se estudian los determinantes del consumo, dependencia y abuso de cannabis, así como la aceptación de mensajes y consejos sobre su consumo (permisivos versus punitivos). Se cuenta con una muestra de 70 jóvenes, de los que 33 son consumidores frecuentes de cannabis, 16 son no consumidores, 10 consumidores experimentales y el resto consumidores de otras drogas. Se les administró una amplia encuesta compuesta de dos partes: una batería de pruebas psicológicas (EPQ, inventario de calidad de vida, listado de problemas, inventario de felicidad, cuestionario de modos de afrontamiento y cuestionario de emocionalidad) y un cuestionario de drogas (incidencia del consumo de drogas, patrones de consumo, criterios de dependencia y abuso, efectos a corto y largo plazo, actitudes y motivaciones, y preferencia por mensajes permisivos o punitivos del consumo). Los resultados indican que hay una diferencia significativa entre los consumidores frecuentes y los no consumidores en variables estables como psicoticismo e inconformismo. Por otra parte, los consumidores frecuentes aceptan mucho más los mensajes permisivos sobre el consumo y los consejos para prevenir consecuencias adversas (reducción de daño) que los no consumidores, que prefieren los mensajes punitivos. Además, los consumidores frecuentes de cannabis informan de unos niveles importantes de control del consumo, y unos beneficios percibidos del consumo prolongado en mayor medida que las consecuencias negativas. Estos resultados serán interpretados en el contexto del fracaso de los programas de prevención del consumo de drogas y de la actual política prohibicionista de lucha contra la droga, proponiendo alternativas en ambos aspectos.
... This compares to American youth (age 12-17) of whom 11.7% had ever used cannabis, and 4.9% in the last month, and American high school seniors of whom 35.3% had ever used cannabis and 15.5% had used cannabis in the last month (Zimmer and Morgan 1995). In Amsterdam in 1994, 6.4% of all adults used cannabis in the past month (Cohen and Sas, 1996), compared to a figure of 4.7% of the whole US population in 1995 and 8.2% of youths age 12-17, representing a doubling in rates for youth since 1992 (SAMHSA, 1996). Note however that the latter figures are not strictly comparable, since levels of use in Amsterdam are almost certainly higher than the Dutch average. ...
Article
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This is restricted access. This article was published in the journal, International journal of drug policy [© Elsevier] and is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09553959 Like the air we breathe, sometimes things are such an accepted and mundane part of our experience that we fail to recognise their fundamental importance. This is almost certainly the case where the relationship between licit trade and illicit drug trafficking is concerned. When variations in illicit drug trafficking and consumption are analyzed, it is possible that we often look too hard for drug policy-related scapegoats, when at least a significant part of the variation is due to other factors. This paper attempts to build an empirical case study of the Netherlands as a specific illustration. While opinion regarding the validity and potential implications of the case study will almost certainly remain divided, it is hoped that it will stimulate recognition of the potential for further contributions to the analysis of international drug policy through the utilization of the routine activities approach.
... Consideration should also be given to strategies which are not generally associated with overdose prevention such as cannabis law reform. Evidence from the Netherlands [31,32] suggests that the introduction of the cannabis 'coffee shop' system may have reduced the uptake of injecting drug use among Dutch youth. ...
Article
In response to the rising concerns about the rate of heroin-related fatalities, overdose prevention campaigns, run by both users' organizations and government agencies, have been implemented in a number of states across Australia. In Western Australia (WA) in mid-1997, various overdose prevention initiatives were implemented. These included the implementation of a protocol limiting police presence at overdose events; the commencement of naloxone administration by ambulance staff; and the establishment of the Opiate Overdose Prevention Strategy (OOPS) which provided follow-up for individuals treated for overdose in emergency departments. This paper reports the results of a multiple linear regression analysis of 60 months of time-series data, both prior to and following the implementation of these interventions, to determine their impact on the number of fatal heroin overdoses inWA. The model employed in the analysis controlled for changes over time in proxy indicators of use and community concerns about heroin, as well as market indicators. The results suggest that, although the interventions implemented have managed to reduce the expected number of fatalities, they have become less successful in doing so as time passes. This has implications for both existing and potential interventions to reduce fatal heroin-related overdose.
Chapter
Seit 1972 wird das Betäubungsmittelgesetz angewandt, vom Bundesverfassungsgericht 1994 hinsichtlich Cannabis für verfassungskonform erklärt. Der Stand der Rechts- und Humanwissenschaften erfordert jedoch einen Paradigmenwechsel. Aus prinzipieller strafrechtstheoretischer und verfassungsrechtlicher Sicht ist das BtMG verfassungswidrig. Diffuse Rechtsgüter wie „Volksgesundheit“ und „soziales Zusammenleben“ genügen nicht dem verfassungsrechtlichen Bestimmtheitsprinzip und Willkürverbot, Konsum ist nicht fremdschädigend. Deshalb dürfen auch konsumfördernde Handlungsweisen nicht kriminalisiert werden. Der „Drogenkrieg“ ist gescheitert, weil der Staat keinerlei Kontrolle über Herstellung und Vertrieb besitzt und kontraproduktive Nebenwirkungen erzeugt. Strafrecht als Mittel zur Bekämpfung von Drogenrisiken ist ungeeignet, unnötig und unverhältnismäßig, mithin ist das Verhältnismäßigkeitsprinzip als herausragende Maxime unserer Rechtsordnung verletzt. Nötig sind: umfassende Entkriminalisierung des Drogenumgangs, drogenspezifische Regulierung und gesundheitsrechtliche Bewältigung der Drogenrisiken.
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Ritengo che gli obiettivi originari del proibizionismo quasi totale del consumo di droghe, così come viene applicato in conformità con la Convenzione Unica del 1961, siano irraggiungibili. Intendo invece presentare alcune argomentazioni e modi di concepire il consumo di stupefacenti, da cui scaturisce l'esigenza di una revisione di vasta portata degli obiettivi che attualmente si prefigge il controllo sulla droga. Si dovrebbe praticare un cambiamento di rotta per quel che riguarda gli scopi ai quali mira la politica in materia di droga, spostandosi dalla soppressione alla regolamentazione del consumo. 1 In questo articolo presenterò i dati sul consumo di stupefacenti raccolti ad Amsterdam i quali, a mio parere, depongono a favore di questo mutamento. I dati relativi al consumo di droga tra gli abitanti di Amsterdam (nell'arco di un decennio) mostrano un notevole livello di controllo e di stabilità nell'andamento del consumo di stupefacenti, nell'ambito di una politica che consente di accedere alle droghe con relativa facilità. E' prevedibile che l'autocontrollo individuale esercitato sul consumo della droga possa agire maggiormente sulla strutturazione dell'andamento in questione, rispetto a quanto possa farlo la teoria classica della politica in materia di droga.
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This study aims to contribute to the characterization of young users of psychoactive substances (PS) in a context of a great transformation in the phenomenon of drug use, both in our country and internationally. We present data from an exploratory research that aims to contribute to the characterization of young consumers, pointing out some regularities in their life trajectories, using a biographical approach with in-depth interviews with a sample of 22 young people, gathered with a chain sampling (snowball). Two groups were distinguished by their distance vs. proximity to problematic drug use patterns, designated here by former problematic trajectories in older consumers and non-problematic in new customers. The results also demonstrated that these kids have a good family structure and are integrated in their community. We highlight the lack of linearity in the relationship between the presence of transgressor behavior and consumption of PS as well as a strong association of the latter to recreational and peer group.
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I believe that the original aims of (almost full) prohibition of substance use, as it is applied according to the NY Single Convention of 1961, are unattainable. Instead, I want to present some arguments and ways of looking at drug use that support a far reaching revision of the current aims of drug control. Drug policy goals should shift, from suppression of use to regulation of use.1 In this article I will present drug use data collected in Amsterdam that in my view support such a shift. Ten years of drug use data in the population of Amsterdam show a remarkable level of control and stability in drug use patterns in a policy environment that allows relatively easy access to drugs. Internal controls on drug use can be expected to play a much larger part in structuring these patterns than classic drug policy theory allows for.
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Résumé La nature des infractions liées à la culture, au commerce et à la consommation de cannabis fait en sorte que la criminalisation engendre des discours sociaux variés venant justifier et contester celle-ci. La présente étude vise, d’une part, à relever les justifications énoncées pour rendre acceptable l’imposition de la souffrance par le droit criminel, et, d’autre part, à examiner les contestations que génèrent les normes pénales relatives au cannabis. L’examen des justifications et des contestations de la prohibition du cannabis révèle deux vedettes centrales : le déviant et la victime. Ces vedettes se présentent sous des figures variées. Les rhétoriques prohibitionnistes donnent vie à cinq figures typiques de la déviance : le dangereux, le fou, le junkie en devenir, le fumeur et l’« amotivé ». Les figures typiques de la victime auxquelles donnent vie tant les contestations que les justifications sont le corps, la liberté et la société. L’analyse de la construction de ces deux vedettes et des rôles pour lesquels on leur déroule le tapis rouge permet d’entrevoir certains produits culturels du régime prohibitionniste, notamment comment ce régime peut être justifié par certains de ses effets qui se présentent comme des causes.
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Résumé La première partie de cette étude est une exposition simplifiée de la pharmacologie du cannabis, la substance illicite la plus consommée au Québec, au Canada et dans le monde. Le cannabis contient plus de 460 produits connus, dont plus de 60 cannabinoïdes. L’ingrédient psychoactif majeur de la marijuana et du haschich est le delta-9-tétrahydrocannabinol (THC). Outre l’euphorie, le cannabis entraîne divers effets aigus et chroniques affectant principalement les systèmes nerveux central et périphérique, respiratoire, cardiovasculaire, endocrinien et immunitaire. De nombreux rapports anecdotiques et quelques études cliniques sur un nombre peu élevé de patients suggèrent les applications thérapeutiques suivantes du cannabis : sensation de bien-être, anxiolyse, stimulation de l’appétit, effet antiémétique, analgésie, effet antispasmodique et myorelaxant, soulagement du syndrome de la Tourette, effet anticonvulsivant, diminution de la pression intraoculaire dans le glaucome et traitement du sevrage à certains psychotropes. Au Canada, depuis le 31 juillet 2001, le Règlement sur l’accès à la marijuana à des fins médicales permet à certains malades graves d’être admissibles à l’usage thérapeutique du cannabis. Parallèlement, Santé Canada a instauré depuis juin 1999 un programme de recherche sur l’emploi médicinal de la marijuana qui a débouché sur des essais cliniques en cours. L’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) et divers comités d’experts nord-américains et européens concluent que le cannabis est moins dangereux pour la santé que beaucoup d’autres psychotropes. Nous comparerons la toxicité du cannabis, de l’héroïne, de la cocaïne, de l’alcool, de la nicotine (tabac) et de la caféine. Il n’y a pas d’évidence scientifique que le cannabis soit une drogue « gateway » incitant à l’usage de drogues plus dures comme l’héroïne ou la cocaïne. Contrairement à l’alcool et à plusieurs autres drogues, le cannabis ne conduit ni à la violence ni au crime. En fait, il tend à supprimer l’agressivité et à apaiser le récipiendaire. La deuxième partie de cet article traite du débat sur la législation entourant le cannabis puisque le Canada envisage une nouvelle politique dans ce domaine. Nous avons sélectionné certaines conclusions d’une série de rapports officiels émanant d’autorités scientifiques du Canada, des États-Unis, de la France et de la Grande-Bretagne. Elles font le point sur les effets du cannabis sur la santé et leurs retombées sur le plan législatif. La synthèse des analyses de ces comités d’experts permettra au lecteur de comprendre le contexte national et international qui a entouré le récent dépôt à la Chambre des communes du Canada du projet de loi fédéral visant, entre autres, la décriminalisation de la possession de petites quantités de cannabis. L’examen des principales conclusions de ces commissions d’experts nous conduit à constater que, jusqu’à récemment, les lois en matière de cannabis ont davantage été régies par des objectifs politiques que par des considérations scientifiques.
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O presente estudo visa contribuir para a caracterização dos jovens utilizadores de substâncias psicoactivas (SPAs), num contexto de grande transformação do fenómeno de uso de drogas no nosso país e no plano internacional. Apresentam-se os dados de uma pesquisa exploratória que pretende contribuir para a caracterização dos jovens consumidores, apontando algumas regularidades nas suas trajectórias de vida, através de uma metodologia biográfica com entrevistas em profundidade a uma amostra de 22 jovens, reunida por amostragem em cadeia (snowball). Dois grupos evidenciaram-se, pelo seu distanciamento vs. proximidade em relação a padrões de uso problemático, designados aqui por trajectórias ex-problemáticas nos velhos consumidores e não-problemáticas nos novos consumidores. Os resultados demonstraram ainda que estes jovens têm uma grande estruturação familiar e estão bem inseridos na sua comunidade. Destacamos a ausência de linearidade na relação entre presença de comportamentos transgressivos e consumo de SPAs, assim como uma forte associação deste último aos contextos recreativos e ao grupo de pares.
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The Dutch depenalization and subsequent de facto legalization of cannabis since 1976 is used here to highlight the strengths and limitations of reasoning by analogy as a guide for projecting the effects of relaxing drug prohibitions. While the Dutch case and other analogies have flaws, they appear to converge in suggesting that reductions in criminal penalties have limited effects on drug use-at least for marijuana-but that commercial access is associated with growth in the drug-using population.
Drifting, controlling and overcoming: opiate users who avoid becoming chronically dependent The natural history of drug use from adolescence to the mid-thirties in a general population sample
  • J S Blackwell
  • K And Chen
BLACKWELL, J. S. (1982) Drifting, controlling and overcoming: opiate users who avoid becoming chronically dependent. Journal of Drug Issues, 13, 219-2356 CHEN, K. AND D. B. KANDEL (1995) The natural history of drug use from adolescence to the mid-thirties in a general population sample. American Journal of Public Health, January 1995, Vol. 85, No. 1, pp. 41-47