Cocaine: Short-term observations of users (1970-1983)

A number of studies have provided observations of contemporary patterns of cocaine use in the period 1970 to 1983. These studies have concentrated on selected populations of users that were seen at only a single point of time during this period. When reviewed chronologically, these observations suggest that patterns of cocaine use were changing rapidly throughout the period 1970 to 1983 and in particular for long-term users. For individuals engaged in continued use this change was characterized by increased dosage and frequency of use resulting in decreasing positive effects and increasing negative reactions including physical and psychological dysfunction. This changing pattern is also examined () in a series of longitudinal observations made on a sample of users studied at multiple points of time during this sane period. Users entered the 1970s with attitudes that supported their beliefs that cocaine was a “safe recreational drug.” Gay and Inaba () suggested that the rediscovery of cocaine in the 1970s was inevitable because its effect of euphoria and stimulation “reinforces and boosts what we recognize as the highest aspirations of American initiative, energy, frenetic achievement, and ebullient optimism” (). Phillips Read more […]


An assessment of the relationship between sedatives and driving accidents requires the survey of literature dealing with: (1) the effects of sedatives on actual driving behaviors, (2) the epidemiological studies of sedatives and traffic accidents, and (3) the physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of sedatives on factors related to driving. Only a few studies have tested the effects of sedatives either in a simulator or in the field. Loomis and West () tested eight subjects in a driving simulator from 1 to 6 hours after they were given various drugs. The simulator consisted of an automobile steering wheel and brake accelerator pedals arranged as in a standard automobile. The steering wheel operated a model car placed on a moving belt 150 ft. long and 30 in. wide with an opaque l-in. strip running down it lengthwise, which simulated the road bed. The strip was shifted randomly, moving smoothly from side to side as the belt advanced. Accelerator and brake pedals actuated and controlled the rate of belt movement, and the steering wheel controlled the position of the model car. A light source placed 14 in. above the car was capable of producing an amber, red, or green light. The subject was required to Read more […]

The International Challenge of Drug Abuse: The Mexican Experience

The extreme complexity of drug addiction and the implacable organization of drug traffic are today, more than ever, a challenge that demands solidary action from all the nations of the Earth. Few other issues are so revealing of the close interrelationship between countries and of the extent to which anything one of them achieves or fails to achieve has a bearing on the others. This paper undertakes the task of briefly weighing past actions, analyzing the present situation, and predicting future trends in the Mexican struggle against drug addiction and drug traffic, in terms both of internal measures and international collaboration actions. International Cooperation Participation in international meetings Long before the problem reached large proportions internally, Mexico chose the path of active participation in those international forums which have stated the need for energetic action against the traffic in drugs of abuse, Mexico first took part in the 1912 The Hague Convention which established cooperation on narcotic control as a matter of International Law. Our country thereafter participated in the 1925, 1931 and 1936 Conferences held in Geneva. On February 16, 1946, the United Nations Economic and Social Read more […]

The Mexican Experience: Fight Against Consumption

Epidemiology But Mexico is not only a drug-exporting country. A number of complexly interrelated factors have accounted for an alarming increase in domestic consumption. Estimates show that the problem is essentially an urban one. In rural areas, although one can find certain towns where drugs still are employed in religious rituals or simply as an element in the subculture of the group, drug abuse as such is not considered a problem that affects public health. The majority of urban drug abusers range in age from 12 to 21 years. The younger set uses inhalants and solvents, while the older group usually uses marihuana. It seems certain that the use of barbiturates and amphetamines is on the increase. Barbiturates and tranquilizers are preferred by young adults. At present there is a problem of hard drugs such as opium and its derivatives among a group along the northern border of the country, where an increase has been observed in the number of Mexicans taking heroin (). The highest percentage of drug experimentation and use appears to be among preadolescent and adolescent males and young adult females. In general, however, lower-class youths tend to use industrial-type solvents, which are cheap and easily Read more […]

Regional Variations in Use of Drugs

Data on the Locations where men were Living at the time of the interview became available late in the process of preparing this report. The computer tape has not been checked with the interview schedules, but it is known that the Location of one respondent is Listed incorrectly. Consequently, data are available for 2,509 rather than 2,510 men. The importance of the available data justify inclusion of a brief discussion of regional variations. Data on the Lifetime use of all drugs except tobacco and alcohol are presented in Table “Lifetime Drug Use by Regions and Divisions of U.S. in Which Respondents Lived at Time of Interview (Percentages)” in terms of the four regions and nine major divisions of the United States. The percentages for the regions are offset and enclosed in parentheses to facilitate comparisons. For five of the drugs the rank order of the regions is the same; the West had the highest percentage, and was followed by the Northeast, North Central and the Southern regions. This pattern was observed for marihuana, psychedelics, stimulants and sedatives; it also held for cocaine, as the apparent tie between the North Central and Southern regions disappeared when an extra decimal place was used. Read more […]

Multiple Drug Use

In this post attention is focused on multiple drug use or the reported use of at least two of the drug classes examined in this study. This is an initial report, and the question whether use of one drug leads to or “causes” use of another drug is not addressed, but the data can be used to establish the temporal order of usage. Use of pairs of drugs One tactic used by previous researchers to study multiple drug use is to examine all of the possible combinations of drug classes, note how many cases are observed for each combination and determine if some combinations are observed more frequently than would be expected by chance. As an example, one possible pattern is that none of the nine drug classes were used. It should be noted that in this and later analyses in this chapter, quasi-medical use of stimulants, sedatives and opiates was treated as no use of the drugs. In addition, there are nine different patterns in which one, and only one, drug class was used. If one adds the patterns in which two, three or more of the nine classes were used, the total number of possible patterns is 512. Only 86 of the 512 patterns actually emerged. This clearly established that it is not a matter of chance which drugs are found together Read more […]

A Review of Drug Abuse Data Bases

This chapter will identify and describe briefly data sources which may be used to project nonmedical drug use among young adults in future years. A wide variety of sources have potential utility in this regard. They range from individual studies conducted by local school districts or States to major national surveys involving thousands of respondents. Because of the proliferation of research on drug use in recent years, it was necessary to place some limitations on the data to be presented here. First, it was decided that since a complete review was conducted in 1974 (), it was unnecessary to duplicate those efforts. () The studies reviewed here are more recent and, with the exception of the earliest National Surveys, were not covered in the 1974 review. Second, this review is limited to those data bases which are national in scope. State and local surveys have severe limitations for purposes of making national projections of nonmedical drug use. For example: 1. The definitions used for nonmedical use often vary from one local or State survey to another. 2. Various local and State surveys are conducted in different time periods, so that it is often difficult to piece together a national profile. 3. The Read more […]

A Review of Drug Abuse Data Bases: the National Survey

The data base which appears to provide the most consistent source of drug use data on youth and young adults is the National Survey co2nducted between 1971 and 1977. There are five studies in this series. The first two surveys were conducted for the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. The most recent three were conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The five studies are entitled: 1) 1971 study: Public Attitudes Toward Marihuana. 2) 1972 study: Drug Experience, Attitudes and Related Behavior Among Adolescents and Adults. 3) 1974 study: Public Experience with Psychoactive Substances. 4) 1976 study: Nonmedical Use of Psychoactive Substances. () 5) 1977 study: National Survey on Drug Abuse. () These surveys share several critical characteristics which contribute to their utility for estimating drug use: Data collection on the “at risk” 18-25 year age bracket; Adequate and consistent sampling methodology; Comparability of drugs investigated; Comparability of question formats; and Accessibility of detailed tabular data. Each of the five studies is discussed below to demonstrate its adequacy as a data base for projecting the number of drug users in the United States Read more […]

The Diagnosis and Treatment of the Phencyclidine Abuse Syndrome

David E. Smith, M.D., Donald R. Wesson, M.D., Millicent E. Buxton, Richard Seymour, M.A., and Honey M. Kramer Our first exposure to Phencyclidine occurred during the summer of 1967 in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco in which the drug was first introduced as the “PeaCe Pill” during a rock concert. We saw that day between twenty-five and thirty acute Phencyclidine toxic reactions. In some respects, these reactions were like the bad LSD trips we were used to treating, but in other respects quite different, with greater physical toxicity and paranoid thinking. We had samples of the “PeaCe Pill” analyzed through a local Bay Area toxicology laboratory and found that the psychoactive drug was PCP. The “PeaCe Pill” was not well received by the majority of individuals in Haight-Ashbury at that time, although Phencyclidine became the drug of choice for a small number of users who continued to use it on a chronic basis. For them most part, Phencyclidine was a drug of deception, usually marketed as “THC” or as one of the psychedelics which were more in demand. Within the past five years, however, Phencyclidine has become increasingly visible as a primary drug of abuse under a variety of street names, including “hog,” Read more […]

The lnstitutional Matrix: Methadone Treatment, Science, and Research

An appraisal of the consequences of heroin use, we suggested earlier, cannot be limited to the examination of the actors in the heroin scene. We reviewed several of the efforts to identify types of adaptations of heroin addicts; however, the conclusion we drew was that this was only a prolegomenon to what has to be done in the future. Our examination of a high risk community suggested that where rates of narcotic involvement are high, the problem can no longer be viewed as confined to a collection of individuals who happen to choose a particular mode of adaptation. Instead, it becomes an issue that reverberates throughout the community and influences the community’s ability to solve its problems of survival. There is still another aspect to the consequence of heroin use, the organizational and institutional one, with its concomitant establishment of a complex public and private system to deal with narcotics. Expenditures for supply reduction alone represent over 350 million dollars annually. There are 276,000 treatment slots provided by federal and local governments and under private auspices (White Paper, 1975). A major industry has been spawned to cope with a problem that may involve between one-quarter to one-half Read more […]