Substance abuse by adolescents in Israel and France: a cross-cultural perspective.
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Substance abuse by adolescents in Israel and France: a cross-cultural perspective.

  • Published Date:

    1984 May-Jun

  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 99(3):277-283
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Filetype[PDF-1.40 MB]

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    Public Health Rep
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  • Description:
    Household surveys of urban youths 14-18 years of age were conducted in 1979 with 609 Israeli adolescents and in 1977 with 499 French adolescents. The overall order in the prevalence of use of legal and illegal drugs was identical in both countries. Cigarettes and alcohol were used by a larger proportion of young people than the illegal drugs; marijuana was used much more frequently than any other illicit drug. The same cumulative sequence of drug use appeared in the survey data for French and Israeli adolescents as in comparative data for adolescents in the United States--cigarette and alcohol use preceded the use of illicit drugs. Striking cross-cultural differences appeared in the overall lifetime and current prevalences of use of all drugs, in the frequency of use, and in the age- and sex-specific rates for adolescents in Israel and in France. French youths uniformly reported greater lifetime and current use of all alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and illegal drugs, more extensive involvement, and smaller sex differences than the Israeli youths. Prevalence of the use of drugs in a culture appears to be associated with four social processes: higher number of times each drug has been used; greater persistence of involvement, as reflected by the proportions of current users among those who ever tried a particular drug; earlier age of first use; and a spread of the phenomenon throughout all groups in society that attenuates group differences in drug experiences. These cross-cultural results suggest a relatively conservative position with regard to accessibility and availability of substances: reducing availability may be one way to reduce individual consumption by impinging not on individual persons directly but on society.
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