ABSTRACT

Communities throughout the United States have been particularly concerned with the problem of drug and alcohol use among youth for the past 25 years. This interest has been based on the belief that drug use can have catastrophic consequences for youngsters, who are both physically and emotionally immature, for their families, and for their communities. Based on this belief there has been a persistent struggle to understand the values and attitudes expressed by youth toward drugs, and to achieve perspectives on adolescent drug use patterns and trends. Developing an understanding of the problem “is an essential prerequisite for rational public debate and policy making” (Johnston et al., 1987, p. 4), both of which are crucial ingredients for planning countermeasures.