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Pathways of Addiction: Opportunities in Drug Abuse Research
however, the influence of peers in the transition from drug use to abuse (Kaplan et al., 1986). Further, the contributing effects of peer influences are likely to be different at different stages of development (Glantz and Pickens, 1992).
Sociocultural or Environmental Factors
The sociocultural factors that have an impact on drug use or abuse include community drug use patterns (Robins, 1984) and neighborhood disorganization (Sampson, 1985). Growing up and living in a community with high rates of crime, ready availability of drugs, association with delinquent peers, and acceptance of drug use and abuse are all associated with drug abuse (Clayton and Voss, 1981; Elliott et al., 1985; Brook et al., 1988; Cohen et al., 1990; Robins and McEvoy, 1990). The larger sociocultural environment also has important effects on drug use. The frequency and nature of representation of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs in the media (including advertising and modeling by those in the sports and entertainment industries) may have important effects on the normative climate. In addition, social and legal policies (taxes, restrictions on conditions of purchase and use, legal status, enforcement) may have important effects on use and abuse.
Ethnographic studies have explored various risk factors for drug use and abuse, as well as the impact of drug abuse on the community. The degree of acculturation and assimilation of individuals and their families into the community has been found to be of some importance as a contextual factor. Among Mexican Americans, it has been noted that several risk factors such as low socioeconomic status, higher school dropout rates, and residing in barrios in large cities exacerbate drug use (Padilla et al., 1979; Carter and Wilson, 1991).
In many African American communities, individuals may occupy marginal social positions that prevent access to broader opportunities. This could result in failure to be responsive to dominant social norms. Detachment from conventional norms is expressed in unconventional lifestage roles (Brunswick et al., 1992). In samples of whites, there is typically a termination of drug use in the midtwenties age range, when adult roles of marriage and employment are adopted (Miller et al., 1983; Bachman et al., 1984; Yamaguchi and Kandel, 1985; Kandel et al., 1986). It is not surprising that in some African American populations, drug abuse continues into adulthood since conventional adult roles are not assumed (Brunswick et al., 1992). Yamaguchi and Kandel (1985) found that the African American women in their New York State sample were more likely than white women to continue marijuana use. It has been confirmed (Bennett et al., 1989) that low-income African American women