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discontinuity between generations is exacerbated (Braucht et al. 1973; Jessor and Jessor 1977; Kandel 1978a).


Drug use, at least for the committed user, is always more than simply a preference for a particular substance, or only a habituation that can be slaked by repeated use of the drug. It is immersed in a more coherent lifestyle pattern, one that involves values and goals and patterns of relationships. It is, therefore, part of a process of the emergence of cultural systems that are innovative, at least by the standards of the communities from which drug users derive. Thus, the question implied earlier: How do variant lifestyles emerge in which drug use becomes a component element? If the family and the other agencies of social control were consistently effective, there would be little illicit drug use because it has not been a major feature of adult lifestyles.

Socialization implies some form of inculcation of basic adaptive strategies of younger people, an activity ordinarily consigned to the family, schools, churches. But this process is never wholly successful and competition can come from other sources, the most common being agemates. There is evidence, however, that the mere association with others who use drugs, while a necessary feature of drug use, certainly during initiation, is not sufficient to explain drug use. Andrews and Kandel (1979) have demonstrated that there is a presocialization process in the sense that those who initiate use have already acquired the attitudes that facilitate drug use. Jessor and Jessor (1977) note that while marijuana users almost always are associated with a network of users, there are also individuals who choose not to use drugs. Among those who have experimented with heroin and remain in close association with heroin users there are many who pull back.

Vaillant (1966b) who observed that heroin users were overrepresented by native-born offspring of migrant parents--not the children of migrants who had been brought up elsewhere before coming to urban areas--hypothesized that there was a cultural disparity between the generations that appeared to increase susceptibility to heroin use. Lukoff and Brook (1974) observed that reported heroin users in a ghetto community were disproportionately derived from the higher socioeconomic groups within the community, but that this was a function of the higher socioeconomic standing of the native-born when compared to migrants. The key element, then, was the migrant-native status, with the native-born overrepresented among the users of heroin. In the same investigation there was also a correspondence of viewpoints toward childrearing that accounted for the generational differences. Migrants in all four ethnic groups, American black, black British West Indians, whites, and Puerto Ricans, subscribed to more proscriptive and controlling orientations toward children than did native-born members of those groups. Although reported heroin use differed between the groups, the same consistent relationship appeared: families that were less proscriptive, even among migrants, reported higher rates of heroin use and closer contact with users of heroin.

The socialization studies cited earily appear to be consistent with the above findings (Braucht et al. 1973; Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs 1973; Gerstein 1976). Insofar as parental

ideologies are oriented toward greater control and monitoring of children, drug initiation appears to decline. At another extreme, when heroin users have been studied, generally retrospectively, there appears to be markedly disturbed family backgrounds in which the families of origin are often abusive or unable to monitor the activities of their children effectively (Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs 1973; Robins 1975a; Zinberg 1979).

Whether we speak of the markedly deviant lifestyle of the heroin addict or the more "laid back" patterns of the middle-class psychedelic user, both patterns can only evolve when youth cultures operate with relative freedom, in isolation from the agencies of social control. This also presumes that the usual socialization mechanisms, including but not limited to the family, have declining legitimacy. There appear to be several possible causes for this situation.

There is, first, the diversity of the urban social environment. Contrast this with individuals from rural backgrounds in which there are few competing cultural systems. Thus, not only is the adherence to community norms more difficult, but there are attractive alternative systems that can be observed and to which one can often gain access.

There is also the increasing isolation of the family. It is not just that more families are headed by single parents, since this has not been unequivocally associated with heroin use (Lukoff and Brook 1974). It is more likely that the networks of family support systems are smaller, and, by the very nature of the urban environment, even when present, are less likely to affect young people. One does not often encounter an aunt, uncle, or cousin who can report to one's parents, as happens in smaller communities or in rural areas. In addition, more of the activities formerly confined to the family are now performed elsewhere, from preschool through a longer and more extended schooling period where primary adult groups have minimal impact.

Larger social changes are difficult to link to various forms of youthful rebellion. We can only note that it is in urban areas that traditional segregation norms began to lose hold. With the rejection of the adults who accommodated the restrictions imposed on blacks, the legitimacy of the conventional society of the ghettos also declined in significance. Among middle-class, mainly white youths, the disparity between voiced values and reality attracted increasing attention, whether it was the civil rights struggle, or opposition to a war for which they could find no justification. This often was translated by many young people into a rejection of the entire middle-class value system. With the declining legitimacy of the usual agents of social control, the possibility for innovation, always present among young people, appears to have escalated. It is in these contexts that drug use increased, from an activity engaged in by only a few, to one that has become, at least for marijuana, a normal part of the youth culture.

Parental ideologies toward children appear to be implicated. Several of the investigations cited earlier note that parental orientations toward childrearing appear to be consistently related to the initiation of drug use. The ideology of self-determination of children is another factor. An outcome of urban sophistication, it is not so prevalent in small towns and rural communities, nor is it shared by migrants from more traditional cultures, though it is soon incorporated in the ideologies of their descendants. This is often accompanied by a declining willingness to enforce controls and monitor the activities of children and is often

accompanied by more extensive use of surrogate guardians. When the rewards, as perceived by the children, appear more exciting and challenging elsewhere, the options provided by the family appear to decline in influence. And so a greater receptivity to encounters with peers would seem to be a consequence of the lessened "internalization" of norms and values derived from the family.

We have only roughly sketched in some possible sources of the way in which youth cultures appear to have greater priority in the evolution of new values and behaviors, with illicit substance use an important component of these activities. The form it takes, from the "hang loose" orientation described by Suchman, or the "hippie" culture of the 1960s, or the "cool cat" of the ghettos, depends on subcultural forms within the communities and the kinds of values and activities, often derived from the adult culture, but profoundly transformed in the process, that are available. In this brief paper we cannot explore this area in detail, but it appears that the choice of adaptive styles, while at variance with the community's system of values, is in important aspects a facet of that system.


In this paper we argue that the key social structural feature associated with drug use is found in the one unambiguous association, that of illicit substance use with young people. In fact, the evidence seems to point to a lowering of the age at which individuals commence the use of illicit substances (Abelson et al. 1977; Johnston et al. 1979). Other structural features such as social class or ethnic group membership, while clearly associated with many aspects of drug use, when examined historically and even in the short period of the past few decades, are seen to be only ephemerally related. It appears that the indigenous cultures are shaping forces, but they do not play a decisive role. What we have said appears to be true for the United States, and perhaps for western Europe, but it does not hold for narcotics use by medical practitioners or by Middle Eastern rural dwellers.

We also advance the view that it is less useful to speak of drug use alone, because those who are heavily invested in drug use are also part of more integrated lifestyles, different in the ghettos than on the campuses, but at variance with many aspects of conventional adult culture. We suggest that marijuana in particular, since it is used by the majority of young people, may be peripheral for many. But for those who start when young and use with reasonable frequency, the evidence is consistent with the theme that illicit substance use is not an isolatable phenomenon, but must be understood in a larger context. And where there is information on who uses drugs there appears to be a process of disengagement from conventional values and norms that precedes initiation. We suggest the sources of the rapid escalation of drug use are located in the forces that influence the declining legitimacy of conventional norms and values and agents of social control on the one hand, and in the structural forces that increase the opportunities for younger people to operate with greater freedom outside the confines of the usual control mechanisms. In this sense, drug use and the attendant cultural prescriptions represent a process of social change.

Achievement, Anxiety, and Addiction

Rajendra K. Misra, D. Phil.

Drug abuse is a response to fear of failure; it helps us to withdraw from the pressures of achievement by inducing and maintaining a sense of apathy toward the standards of excellence in society. Tensions and stress of lifestyle in urban and developed societies are marked by pressure for achieving goals that subscribe to the so-called "approved" quality of life.


Drug abuse, or at least its impact, seems to be more common in the technologically developed societies than in the developing ones. Industrialized cultures are quite regimented in terms of their standards of excellence. There are definite, clearly identified criteria for goal attainment. Quality of life is measurable. The indicators of happiness are concrete and specific. In the United States, for instance, the standards of excellence are more visual and substantive than, say, in India, where about 70 percent of the population live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for a living. In India, belief in (a) the transmigration of the soul, (b) the birth-rebirth cycle, and (c) the goal of life being the ability to break away from the birth-rebirth process and merge with the Supreme Being do not encourage preoccupation with earthly, material things. The quality of life is relatively vague in its beginning and ending. Standards of excellence are fewer than in the developed nations. Pressures for achievement are relatively mild; penalties for failure, few. Blended with this sociocultural ethos are the religious sanctions against taking bhang (hashish) or smoking marijuana, except during the specified religious festivals, when drugs are often a part of the ritual.

In any culture, celebration is marked by (relatively) inhibited expression of emotions (usually love and anger). Social and cultural systems build in occasions for celebration of the basic historical and religious traditions. Two features of any celebration are food and emotion, the assumption being that the chores and routines of day-to-day living tend to restrain eating and expression. An average Indian lunches on

a paratha (shallow, fried, layered bread made with whole wheat flour) and curried potatoes. An average American grabs a sandwich and washes it down with a soft drink. Emotional expression is also restrained. Smiles are closer to courtesy than to feelings. Self-control and restrained expression day after day and week after week program us somewhat for an almost computerized lifestyle. Even television comedy shows sandwich "canned" laughter in between the scenes as if to remind the audience about the humor.

Celebrations acquire special significance against this backdrop of dry and dreary lifestyle. We have to plan to relax. It is not uncommon for people to go on a strict diet before going on a vacation so that they can eat without much guilt. Even more important is the expression of emotions. The recent mushrooming of the "pop" therapy methods (encounter groups, marathons, self-improvement techniques, stress management, and so forth) illustrates our obsession with inhibited expression.


In the developing countries, however, because of relatively less pressure for achievement, celebrations are observed more frequently and for longer duration. Methods of relaxation usually consist of visiting with friends and going to movies. In a developed nation like the United States, people just do not have time for much relaxation. An American, creatively enough, treats living and working as synonymous. The weekends are planned and filled as tightly as are the week days. Relaxation is not "doing nothing"; it is another kind of work. Weekend golfers, painters, and vacationers love to achieve standards of excellence in their relaxation ventures. It is not enough to feel that "my vacation was relaxing"; I also want to feel, prove, and publicize that "my vacation was better than yours."

We do not mind trading relaxation for tension: Borrowing money to go on a vacation is a good example of this. Doing something rather than nothing is the hallmark of relaxation. Frequently, one is as tense about seeking relief as one is about achieving work goals, Relaxation must be achieved, here and now. A sense of immediacy encourages search for time-saving techniques for achieving peace and tranquility. Drug abuse emerges as a natural corollary to this way of life. In the speed-oriented culture of the United States, for instance, drug abuse is a handy device for "getting away from it all" (Misra 1975). Chemical aids for feeling "fresh and relaxed" are so widely publicized through the media that it is extremely difficult to resist the temptation for this shortcut to happiness.

The vast range of data in the media, including advertisements for automobiles, homes, food, vacations, and so on, describes and perhaps even sets the goals we are expected to achieve to qualify as "leading a good life." The focus is on what, not how, to attain in order to have a feeling of achievement, a sense of satisfaction.

Availability of options causes anxiety. Different goals are perceived in terms of their potential value to satisfy our needs. Do we buy an automobile to get from one place to the other? Maybe. But also to acquire status, power, and prestige. It is not easy to decide on the kind of car we want to buy, essentially because there are so many to

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