The Marijuana Smokers
Chapter 8 - Multiple Drug Use Among Marijuana Smokers
The antimarijuana argument most widely encountered and taken seriously
is that marijuana is a "threshold" drug; its use, it
is said, "precipitates," "predisposes," or
"potentiates" the user to the more potent and dangerous
drugs, particularly heroin. It is the empirical and logical basis
of this argument that we will now examine.
It is interesting that the Federal Bureau of Narcotics did not
take this argument seriously during the period of the richest
and most virulent diatribes against the drug. In 1937, the year
of the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, Harry Anslinger, in testimony
before a congressional committee, said that the marijuana user
specifically did not progress to heroin: "I have not
heard of a case of that kind.... The marihuana addict does not
go in that direction." With the post-World War II wave of
heroin use and addiction, the connection was suddenly perceived
by Anslinger. No studies were done in the interim which
demonstrated the connection, or even hinted at it. (Some observers
claim that the shift in the association, if it has occurred, is
evidence that it is the laws and the law enforcement officers
which have created the marijuana-heroin link.) In any case, beginning
in the late 1940S and early 1950S, asserting the marijuana-heroin
link was part of official FBN policy.
Other observers in the 1930s, however, were affirming the association
that Anslinger denied. In fact, an even more elaborate association
was constructed for marijuana. One of the most widely circulated
and widely quoted works of the 1930s, On the Trail of Marihuana:
The Weed of Madness, written by Earle Albert Rowell and Robert
Rowell, asserted that cigarettes lead to marijuana, and marijuana,
eventually, to heroin.
This argument emphasizes progressive moral decay as the dynamic
thrust generating this movement from one drug to another, a kind
of "greased toboggan to hell" approach to activities
that society condemns. In a sense, one sin begets another greater
sin. By getting away with one sinful activity, one is emboldened
to try a more serious one. The only way of avoiding this descent
into total corruption is to avoid all contact with evil. Since
cigarette smoking is clearly an evil activity, one can avoid being
sucked into the maws of marijuana useand subsequently, narcotics
addictionby never smoking at all:
Marijuana is especially dangerous because it comes in cigarette
form. The great tobacco companies have prepared the way for the
Devil's parade of death; they have popularized the use of cigarettes
... until today in America, men, women, boys and girls think
nothing of lighting up their choice tobaccos.... It is easy now,
for a young man or woman planted by the peddler, to pass out this
new cigarette and American youth, always looking for adventure,
will fall an easy prey. The step from Marijuana to... morphine
is a short one.
Today's observers would consider this portrait absurd, even amusing.
As pointed out in the chapters on selling marijuana and on becoming
a marijuana user, the neophyte is turned on and supplied by friends;
the peddler does not supply cigarettes to get his customers hooked
on narcotics. The percentage who go from tobacco cigarettes to
marijuana and from marijuana to heroin is minuscule so that no
peddler could possibly afford to spend the necessary time to recruit
In spite of its late entry into the pot-to-heroin debate, the
FBN (now the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, a subunit
of the Justice Department) is presently the most vigorous proponent
of the progression theory (although the Bureau, now under John
Ingersoll, may eventually represent a departure from its earlier
stand of the Anslinger-Giordano years).
... it cannot be too strongly emphasized that the smoking of
the marihuana cigarette is a dangerous first step on the road
which usually leads to enslavement by heroin....
Ordinarily, a person is tempted first with marihuana cigarettes.
He may not even know they are dope. Then, someone already addicted
makes it easy to try some heroin. Most teenage addicts
started by smoking marihuana cigarettes. Never let anyone persuade
you to smoke even one marihuana cigarette. It is pure poison.
One particularly grave danger of habitual marihuana use is that
there is often a clear pattern of gradation from marihuana
to the stronger addictive opiates.
Often antidrug and narcotics associations, as well as educational
and parents' organizations, will sponsor lectures by ex-addicts
who describe the horrors of addiction, along with the inevitability
of the transition from smoking pot to leading the life of a junkie.
One of the most dramatic and effective of such talks, at Miami
Beach, is excerpted below:
I am a drug addict.... For twenty-three years of my life I was
a junkie. I spent seventeen years... in jails....
I come from a very nice Jewish family, a middle-to-upper income
family. I was the baby and they loved me. They educated me; I
got a degree in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin.
And what did I do to them? I have had forty-seven arrests. For
using narcotics. Felonious possession of narcotics. Selling narcotics.
For being a whore. For being the madam of a whorehouse. For running
a con game.
I'm not a thief..., but when you have a $185-a-day habit of
cocaine and heroin, no legitimate job can support it.
Look at me.... I'm a fifty-year-old hippie. Every vein is collapsed.
I must carry my stigma all my life, a card that warns the doctor
he must never try to give me a shot of anything, that only the
vein in my neck can be used to take blood out if necessary....
I was finishing six months as an habitual user in New York. I
gave an "honest" cop $10 to slip a letter out to my
connection, Porkchop, in East Harlem. I told Porkchop to meet
me when I got out, to have a fix ready, I couldn't go out on the
street without it.
He was waiting for me. I went into a phone booth and right through
my clothing I gave myself a shot. Just then a police matron came
in to make a call, and she busted me. Another six monthsa year,
back to back. And I started to get scared.
I was forty-six years old. I couldn't go out and hustle. There
are twenty-year-olds doing that. I couldn't shoplift; my mug is
known in every store
from Klein's to De Pinna. I was a five-time loser, I could get
fifteen to thirty years. I didn't get smart. I got scared....
Here I am. I loused up a complete lifetime. I'm starting a new
life and I'm forty-nine.
The revelation of this talk was not simply that someone could
become a junkie and live a life of degradation and infamy; it
was that pot was the front door to this downfall. "All I
did was start with pot," the ex-addict explained. "At
the university I fell in love and married a musician.... My husband
smoked pot, and what my love did, I did." When asked by a
sophisticated student about the "statistics on marijuana
leading to drug addiction," she replied:
Will you believe me if I tell you that I know junkies after twenty-three
years of living in the gutter with them? Will you believe me when
I tell you that I don't know any junkie that started on horse,
that they all started on pot?
I don't know statistics, but I know a thousand junkies, and I
tell you that they all started on marijuana. Using drugs is sheer
The question before us, then, is what do the studies on multiple
drug use tell us about the likelihood of "progressing"
from marijuana to more potent drugs, such as heroin?
Multiple Drug Use among 200 Marijuana Smokers
In my questionnaire, I asked interviewees what drugs other than
marijuana they had taken at least once to become high. With two
specific drugs, heroin and LSD, I also asked how often they had
ever taken them. I excluded those drugs taken for strictly
utilitarian purposes, such as amphetamine pills taken for dietary
reasons or for studying. Needless to say, the fact that a given
individual, or a certain percentage of the sample, ever
took one or another drug at least once does not imply continued
or even occasional usage of that drug. In fact, most individuals
who try any given drug to become high do so a small number of
times; the majority of all drug users are experimenters, and the
regular users, although numerous for many drugs, are usually in
Multiple Drug Use Among Marijuana Smokers:
| ||Goode|| EVO || |
| || ||55||"Diet pills"|
| || ||4||Darvon|
|DMT or DET||26||50||DMT|
| || ||14||DET|
|Barbiturate or tranquilizer ||24||18||Barbiturate or tranquilizer |
|Opium||20||11||Opium or morphine|
|Peyote or mescaline||19||41||Peyote|
| || ||4||Cough medicine|
|Morning-glory seeds||5||10||Morning-glory seeds|
|Romilar||3|| || |
About the same time I was interviewing respondents, The East
Village Other conducted the survey on drug use cited in Chapter
2, which made inquiries about the age of first turning on, arrests
for drugs, feelings of paranoia, selling marijuana, and so forth.
One question asked the respondent to enumerate all the drugs he
had taken at least once. While this study, like my own, had problems
of interpretation, I
will examine parallels between the two studies, showing that,
although the percentage using nearly every drug is higher for
the EVO respondents, the rank-order (i.e. degree of popularity)
of the drug used was surprisingly similar.
Among the 204 respondents, the use of drugs in addition to marijuana
was more characteristic than it was exceptional. About two-thirds
of the respondents (68 percent) had taken at least one drug other
than marijuana or hashish once or more. (Some of the interviewees,
I found out later, did not distinguish between marijuana and hashish.)
The median number of drugs taken by the interviewees was two and
the mean was 3.4. More important than the sheer number of drugs
taken is both the kind of drug taken, as well as the frequency.
In spite of the commonly stated belief that involvement with marijuana
will lead to the use, and eventual addiction to heroin, this potentially
dangerous narcotic was used by only a small minority of the sample.
Twenty-seven respondents, or 13 percent of the sample, had used
heroin at least once, with extremely limited use predominating.
The picture that LSD presents is different in the extent of its
use among marijuana smokers, but similar in the characteristic
infrequency. Half had taken the drug at least once and of these,
a quarter, or 12 percent of the whole sample, tried LSD only once;
nineteen took it twice. Only fourteen respondents took the drug
twenty-five times or more, and of these, four had taken it one
hundred or more times. Thus, LSD typically is not a drug of frequent
use. It is most often taken for curiosity, exploring unusual psychic
states, affirming one's status in, and experiencing some of the
bases of, a distinctive subculture. Probably more than any other
drug in use, the drop-off after the first drug experience is precipitous.
There was usually little desire to continue use. Of course, the
frequent LSD user may be found (Timothy Leary has claimed to have
taken more than 400 "trips"), but relatively rarely.
And, of course, fear of chromosome damage temporarily brought
the widespread use of LSD almost to a halt, sometime after the
interviews, by the fall of 1967. However, after the initial scare,
many drug users gradually discounted the findings on the damage
to the chromosomes, partly as a result of contrary propaganda,
and the extent of LSD usage climbed back up to its former level,
accompanied by the use of other psychedelics, such as mescaline.
Since our sample is not representative, we have no idea whether
the percentage taking each of these drugs can be applied to the
larger marijuana-using population; it is a safe guess that our
respondents are much more heavily involved with other drugs than
is the average group of cannabis smokers, including everyone who
has sampled the drug at least once up to the daily smoker. What
we want to know are the factors that are related to multiple-drug
use; what is there in the social life of some users that contributes
to the use of drugs other than marijuana? What is it that helps
a marijuana user go on to other drugs?
We found that the most potent variable, by far, in determining
a user's use of drugs other than marijuana was how much he smoked
marijuana. For instance, nearly all of the daily smokers
had tried at least three drugs other than cannabis (92 percent),
while almost none of the less than monthly smokers did so (g percent).
Each of the categories of use in between formed a step-wise pattern
of multiple-drug use; there was a perfect relationship between
how much the person smoked marijuana and the likelihood of trying
other drugs. (This relationship is presented in Table 8-2).
Frequency of Marijuana Use and Involvement with
Drug Activities (percent)
|Marijuana Use||Ever Tried at|
Least Three Drugs
Aside from Marijuana
|Ever Took LSD|
at Least Once
|3 to 6 times per week||69||71||80||93|
|1 or 2 times per week||29||49||40||84|
|1 to 4 times monthly||19||25||14||67|
|Less than monthly||9||22||11||29|
In fact, the concatenance of many factors relating to marijuana
use, conceptions of identity, and marijuana-related activity,
was remarkable. The more that the respondent used marijuana, the
greater the likelihood of conceiving of others in marijuana-relevant
terms, conceiving oneself in terms of being a marijuana user,
and of desiring that others around oneself smoke marijuana.
With extended, frequent use and its invariable concomitant, subcultural
association, attitudinal shifts generally take place relative
to drug use and drug-associated identities. The more that one
smokes, the greater the likelihood that he will see himself as
a marijuana smoker and the higher that drug-connected identities
will rank on his "who am I?" responses. The more that
one will look for drug cues in others, the more he will think
of others in drug-associated terms; also the more one will think
it necessary that others with whom he associates smoke. The more
that one smokes, the greater the salience that marijuana
has in his life. (The evidence for this assertion is presented
in Table 8-3.)
Salience of Marijuana by Amount of Use
|Percent saying "yes" to the following questions:
"When you meet a person for the first time, is the fact that
he smokes marijuana one of the first
half-dozen things you think
"Is it preferable that your friends smoke marijuana, or not?"
"Do you think that you would turn on your younger brother
or sister, if you had one?"
|Marijuana Use||First Half-dozen|
|Daily ||81 ||56 ||88|
|3 to 6 times per week ||69 ||53 ||73|
|1 or 2 times per week ||45 ||37 ||65|
|1 to 4 times monthly ||39 ||33 ||57|
|Less than monthly ||16 ||31 ||41|
It is impossible at this point to draw causal arrows. We must
rather, think of the relationship between our variables in dialectical
terms. One variable, the amount of marijuana smoked, influences
a person's conception of himself as a smoker which, in turn, also
influences how much he smokes. The simple cause and effect model
is inadequate here. All of the factors form a kind of configuration.
The amount a person smokes is easily quantifiable, but it is itself
a partial consequence of other factors. To attempt to separate
a strand does violence to the whole.
Moreover, the more an individual smokes marijuana, the greater
is the likelihood that he will also be involved in drug-related
activities which further strengthen his social ties to the drug-using
group. For instance, the more he smokes, the greater the chances
of his having bought and/or sold marijuana. The more he smokes,
the greater the need to purchase marijuana; the more he smokes,
the greater is the chance of being able to take advantage of the
economy in large purchases, and the greater the likelihood of
having a surplus to sell; the more he smokes, the more he associates
with others who smoke, especially heavily, and thus the more centrally
located he is in the marijuana distribution system, and the more
knowledge he has about buying and selling.
But the arrows move in both directions. The more he buys and sells,
the greater the number and the intensity of his personal acquaintances
in the marijuana network, and the more reinforced will be his
marijuana-related activities, including smoking; the more that
he buys and sells, the more marijuana there will be around
the greater the likelihood of his keeping a supplyto smoke,
and the greater the likelihood of having marijuana to offer to
friends when they visit. Simultaneously, both use and sale can
be seen as indices of the degree of involvement in the marijuana
subcommunity (see Table 8-4).
Nonmarijuana Drug Use by Buying and Selling Marijuana
| N |
|Bought Marijuana ||Yes||27||27||49||147|
The greater the proportion of one's friends who are regular marijuana
smokers, the greater is the likelihood that one has taken drugs
other than marijuana, and the more extensive one's experience
with other drugs is likely to be. Likewise, buying and selling
push the individual into social relations that alter his conception
of himself regarding drug use and provide opportunities for involvement
with other kinds of drugs. The fact that the individual has bought
and sold marijuana means that he has had contact with other individuals
who are likely to be heavily involved in drug use and who define
drug use in favorable terms. This clearly means that other drugs
are more available to him (friendships and drug use are empirically
related in Tables 8-5 and 8-6).
Nonmarijuana Drug Use by Marijuana-Smoking Friends
|Percent of Friends|
Who Are Regular
|Taken One or|
Two Other Drugs
|Taken Three or|
More Other Drugs
| N |
Taking LSD by Marijuana-
| Percent || N |
Heavy marijuana use, then, implicates the individual in intense
and extensive social interaction with other marijuana users, involves
him with numerous marijuana users and in numerous marijuana related
activities, alters the role of marijuana as a relevant criterion
in his conceptions of others, and changes his conception of himself
as a drug user. Moreover, it increases the likelihood of his taking
drugs, in addition to marijuana, of which the subculture approves
The higher the proportion of friends who were also regular marijuana
smokers, the greater were the individual's chances of taking LSD.
The fact that he bought or sold marijuana also increased his chances
of having taken LSD. It can be seen in Table 8-7 that since marijuana
selling is a more intense commitment than mere buyingselling
takes one further into the core of the drug-using subculture,
particularly the psychedelic drug communityit serves as a more
effective predictor in differentiating whether a person will have
taken LSD. (Thirteen percent more of the sellers of marijuana
have taken LSD than the buyers, and 7 percent fewer of the nonbuyers
have taken it than the nonsellers.)
Taking LSD by Buying and
| || Yes || No || N |
|Bought Marijuana ||Yes||59||41||147|
| || Yes || No || N |
For every drug that we computed, the daily marijuana smoker was
far more likely to have tried it than was the less than monthly
marijuana smoker. For instance, only a tiny proportion of the
least involved smokers (4 percent) had tried heroin at least once,
while slightly over a third of the daily smokers had A quarter
of the less than monthly smokers had taken one of the amphetamines
to get high, while four-fifths of the daily smokers had. So the
greater the amount of marijuana use, the greater the chance of
having taken nearly any drug. Intense and continuing involvement
with marijuana use implies involvement in a drug-using subculture.
But it must be recognized that this is a highly conditional statement,
it refers specifically to heavy use and intense involvement. At
the lowest levels of use, the use of drugs considered dangerous
is highly unlikely.
By smoking marijuana, one does not automatically hurl oneself
into an LSD miasma. But by smoking marijuana regularly, one makes
friends who also smoke. By making friends who smoke, one's attitudes
about not only marijuana use, but also the use of the hallucinogens
may change as well. The more that one smokes, the more likely
it is that one will make friends who approve of LSD use, and who
offer opportunities for the use of the LSD-type drugs. We must
think of this process in dynamic, as well as in dimensionalist,
terms. This is a time-bound process. And it is a process that
is a matter of degree. A single puff of marijuana will do practically
nothing in the way of "potentiating" one to LSD use.
But daily use over the process of several months, within a milieu
of heavy marijuana use, with friends who smoke regularlythe
greater the number of friends, and the more intimate the relationshipthe
greater is the likelihood that this will occur.
Logic and Fact in Multiple Drug Use Studies
Unfortunately, no adequate cross-section of marijuana users has
ever been studied. Every work done in this area, including my
own, suffers from sampling bias. What holds up for one segment
of marijuana users may have no relevance for another Probably
no study reveals this problem more than a recent paper from
the New York State Narcotic Addiction Control Commission,
by Glaser, Inciardi, and Babst. A
five and ten year follow-up study was conducted of about
700 males who were, in 1957 and 1962, referred to the New York
City Youth Council Bureau, "an agency established for handling
juvenile and youthful persons alleged to be delinquent or criminal
and not deemed sufficiently advanced in their misbehavior to be
adjudicated and committed by the courts" for the following
three offenses: marijuana use, heroin use, and nondrug offenses.
The study then checked the appearance of the names of the members
of its sample in the Narcotics Register, "the most complete
file of its type available anywhere in the United States."
Which of these three categories of juvenile offenders was most
likely to turn up in the heroin files later? The data appeared
to confirm the progression hypothesis: "... while half
of the male adolescent heroin users had a heroin record five or
ten years later, about forty percent of the marijuana users also
acquired a heroin record in this follow-up period.... marijuana
use is almost as portentous of adult heroin use as is actual use
of heroin as an adolescent." The authors strongly qualify
the report's findings in their conclusions; they are in no way
guilty of an attempt at an overextension of the applicability
of their results. Of the four groups which the authors point out
as most likely to use marijuanathe slum dweller, the bohemian,
the college student, and the high school studentit is only
among the first (and last) of these that the study's data was
likely to be drawn. And it is in this group that the transition
to heroin is most likely. In the other three groups, the use
of heroin is certainly far lower than for the urban slum dweller,
so that had the study covered all of the marijuana-using groups,
the likelihood of later heroin use, and therefore of the transition
taking place, would have been much smaller.
In fact, the findings are even more narrowly applicable than that.
The marijuana smoker whose use is so conspicuous as to
come to the attention of the authorities in no way represents
users as a whole. To come to the attention of any agency
of law enforcement is to be a part of a highly special and unrepresentative
kind of social group. Such users are far more likely to be more
highly involved with the drug, to be implicated in some of the
more heavily sanctioned marijuana-related activities, such as
selling, and to be incautious.*
The Blumer study emphasizes the importance of the cool style in
one sector of marijuana users. This kind of user is
inclined to denigrate the delinquency-oriented rowdy, who
is both more likely to become arrested and to move to later addiction.
The cool user is likely to do neither of these. It is almost a
certainty that among this conspicuous group, progression to later
heroin use is far more likely than among users as a whole.
The adolescents included in the NACC study are far from representative
because they generally reflect the very highest levels of use.
And it is among these levels of use that later heroin involvement
is most likely. It is not unreasonable to assume that less and
more cautious use, lower involvement in the marijuana subculture,
and participation in a greater variety of social groups, will
be far less likely to precipitate heroin use and addiction. In
fact, the Narcotics Addiction Control Commission has probably
selected the segment of users which has the very highest likelihood
of later heroin use. The progression hypothesis holds up best
in the very group where the commission gathered data.
Lower-class adolescent slum dwellers are far more likely to come
to the attention of formal legal agencies of social control than
the middle-class suburban teenager. For the latter, informal,
nonrecord, nonarrest implementation is more likely than for the
former, if caught. Again, it is a certainty that this progression
to heroin is most likely among the slum dwellers, which the authors
themselves state, and least likely at the top of the class structure,
which is distinctly underrepresented in official records. The
process of officially recording an individual's illegal behavior
is highly contingent on social class, neighborhood, race,
and education, among other contingencies. Official notice, in
fact, is immersed in the very process the authors are trying to
explain. The problem is not with differentials of law enforcement
involvement, as the authors imply (i.e., with the New York Youth
Council files as opposed to incarcerated drug users), but with
involvement with the law at all as opposed to no involvement.
In my study only seven respondents were arrested on marijuana
charges, and none was incarcerated. To reason from this handful
of cases concerning the characteristics of the 200 users in my
sample would have led to erroneous conclusions.
The Narcotics Addiction Control Commission survey at least implied
that its validity was stronger in some groups and weaker in others.
Another study often
cited by law enforcement officers to support their pot-to-heroin
claim was conducted among the admissions to the Lexington and
Fort Worth addiction centers' inmates in 1965. Of the addicts
studied, 70 percent had used marijuana prior to their addiction,
that is, had progressed to the narcotics from cannabis. This is
quoted as definitive proof that the stepping-stone hypothesis
is valid. Giordano, for instance, quotes the Lexington study to
support his antipot propaganda. Haslip, too, uses the Ball Lexington
research report as support for the progression thesis. Further,
both pieces claim that the addict survey documents the pharmacological
"effects" explanation for the transition to heroin.
What does the Ball article really say? Actually, its argument
and presentation of fact is much more subtle than the law officers
admit. The findings do not support the pharmacological explanation:
they refute it. And they do not even document the progression
theory; they qualify it. The main point of the Ball-Chambers-Ball
article was not that 70 percent of all addicts once used pot.
It is that where there is an illicit drug-using subculture, marijuana
and heroin will be found as mutual components, making the link
more likely; where there is no illicit drug subculture, the progression
is unlikely, because there is no group to sustain the transmission.
It is the subculture that makes for the pot-to-heroin connection,
not the drug itself. The central concept in the Ball piece is
"differential associationbecoming part of a drug-taking
group." Needless to say, the propagandists hold the article
to support their own "effects" argument; the findings
actually refute this contention. (Actually, in his conclusions,
Ball also mentions the effects-reason as one of the various possible
explanations for the link: "marijuana is taken for its euphoric
However, another caveat is necessary. The Lexington study, like
most studies of drug progressions, was made up entirely of addicts,
incarcerated ones at that. It was not done with a cross-section
of marijuana users. Therefore, we have no idea of how typical
their experience with drugs was. The relevant statistic should
not be a retrospective percentage of narcotic addicts who have
ever used pot, but a percentage of the total universe of all those
who have ever used marijuana who also ever became addicted to
heroin. The whole reasoning process in studies of addicts is backwards.
By all indications, the percentage of marijuana users who ever
become narcotics addicts is quite small; the relevant question
here is whether this minuscule minority forms a larger percentage
than the total universe of those who have never smoked marijuana.
Out of this seemingly innocent source, gallons of ink have gushed
forth in fatuous debate. The progressionists claim that the percentage
of addicts who have ever tried marijuana70 percent in the Ball
study, as high as over go percent in othersindicates that pot
leads to heroin. The pro-pot propagandists claim that this figure
is meaningless, because l00 percent of all addicts drank milk,
so that milk is more predictive of later heroin use than marijuana.
The antiprogression position is correct on one level, but erroneous
on another. In theory, it is always improper to cite the percentage
of addicts who ever used marijuana to demonstrate the validity
of the stepping-stone hypothesis, because other progressions (milk
to heroin) are even stronger. But empirically, we have to assume
that the percentage of addicts who have ever used marijuana is
higher than for the population at large. Since the percentage
of addicts and nonaddicts who once used milkl00 percentis
the same, this factor provides no differentiating power.
But the addict-retrospective argument is also improper, because
(1) we do not know whether the percentage of addicts who once
used pot is any different for addicts and nonaddicts (we have
to assume it, though it is probably a correct assumption); (2)
we do not know how much more the addict figure is; (3) and we
do not know why it should be more. So the Lexington data does
not really tell us very much about drug progression until we have
more data, most particularly, a representative sample of the total
universe of all marijuana smokers, not merely the ones who became
The theories explaining the progression from pot to heroin (assuming
that it exists) boil down to two: the psychological-pharmacological,
and the social. The former is espoused by the police; the latter,
by nearly everyone else. The psychological-pharmacological interpretation
holds that there is an actual property of achieving the high that
impels the user from marijuana to heroin; basically it is
the effect of the drug which dictates the link. The user, who
is "kicks" or "thrill" oriented (otherwise
he wouldn't smoke marijuana), seeks an increasingly bigger thrill.
Gradually the excitement of marijuana begins to pale; he ceases
to achieve the charge he first got; and he searches around for
a greater kick. This, as we know, is heroin, the "boss kick,"
the ultimate high. As
Giordano has informed us, "Those seeking personal well-being
and exhilaration through the stimuli of drugs ultimately discover
that the opiates have more to offer."
This combination psychological and pharmacological, or "effects,"
conception of the reason for the progression is that "the
use of marihuana develops [in the user] a taste for drug intoxication
which, in turn, leads many people to the use of more potent drugs
even heroin." One
problem with this view centers around the imputation of causality.
Admitting that marijuana fails to provide the kick provided by
heroin is in reality saying that marijuana is discarded for heroin.
It is not that marijuana leads to heroin, according to this hypothesis,
but that marijuana fails to lead to heroin. Marijuana is
not a path, but a dead end: it even slowed down the search for
the ultimate kick. If it hadn't been for marijuana, the user would
have found heroin sooner. Obviously,
we need a different explanation.
Another problem with this conception involves the mechanism by
which heroin is perceived as delivering the thrill claimed for
it. The effects of a drug are not uniformly grasped by all who
happen to come into contact with it; a drug has to be socially
defined as delivering a boss kick. The lack of this social dimension
weakens the simple effects argument. Were the social dimension
taken into account, it would destroy the argument altogether,
because the social perceptions of the various drugs vary considerably
One of the problems with a theory that tends to equate all drugs
as existing in the same social and phenomenological category is
that those who use drugs illicitly do not perceive them as similar.
Some classes of drugs will be thought of as opposites. The effects
of the various drugs are extremely different, and their social
definitions are even more heterogeneous. Drug users often make
the distinction between "head" or "mind" drugs
and "body" drugs. Head drugs include LSD, DMT, and DET,
mescaline and peyote, and usually hashish and marijuana; these
are referred to by drug propagandists, such as Timothy Leary,
as the "psychedelics," a term coined by the physician
Humphrey Osmond, and taken from the Greek, meaning "the mind
is made manifest." The clinical professions often call these
drugs "hallucinogens" or "psychotomimetics."
(However, they rarely produce hallucinations, and they very rarely
mimic a madness-like state, although this is dependent on
one's definition of madness.) The body drugs encompass a wide
range of substances: the amphetamines, cocaine, the barbiturates,
the narcotics (including heroin), and alcohol. One of our respondents,
a thirty-two-year-old actor, and a daily smoker of marijuana,
spells out the differences between body and mind drugs by citing
the irrelevance of heroin to the psychedelicist:
Heroin is a drag, I think, for anybody who is into mind drugs,
because it's like being very, very drunk, and it tends to take
one out of everything, as I think, as Cocteau said,
it's just like getting off the express train
that's going to death, and just sort of being nowhere for a while.
The only pleasant aspect of heroin is the peculiar sensation of
consciousness and unconsciousness at the same time, so that you
can actually perceive what it's like to be asleep because part
of your brain is still awake, digging it, digging the groovy feeling
of being asleep. But other than that, I don't have anything to
Cocaine, of course, and the other stimulants are what I call body
drugs which tend to accelerate your behavior, but which don't
give you, particularly, any insights.
The miraculous thing about the psychedelics is that things just
pop into your mind, and if you can just listen to what you're
saying inside there, you can learn a lot. It seems to me that
one of the great things about LSD is that any insights you happen
to get behind it are reinforced at the same moment by an emotional
response that is so total that you tend to accept the insight
because you believe it intellectually and emotionally at the same
time, and it stays with you later.
The single similarity between marijuana and heroin is that both
seem to give, or are reported as giving, a kind of relaxing euphoria,
a sense of floating well-being. Beyond that, their effects are
almost diametrically opposed and are categorized as such. Marijuana
seems to generate a speeded-up, irrational, and seemingly disconnected
thought, while heroin slows down, dulls, and deadens the mental
processes. Marijuana smokers are far more sensually inclined than
heroin addicts; marijuana is closely linked with sex, with orgiastic
eating practices, and with an appreciation of loud, vigorous and
frenetic hard rock music, while heroin tends to produce a lack
of interest in sexeven impotenceand food (junkies often
eat just enough to keep themselves alive).
We are not claiming that the effects of one drug have nothing
to do with whether a user will later use another drug whose effects
are similar. But what we are saying is that if the effects-hypothesis
holds up at all, it cannot explain the marijuana-heroin link.
If anything, it casts doubt on it. A sociologist might say that
it is possible for a subculture to define the effects as similar,
and users will think that they are similar, isolate similar characteristics
such as the feeling of euphoria, but then we have to move to an
altogether new level of explanation, which the proponents of the
pharmacological theory of the escalation are unwilling to do.
The social theory of the progressive drug use underplays the pharmacological
characteristics of the two drugs. It is not so much that getting
high pushes the drug user from marijuana to heroin, as Henry
Brill claims: "... the association is not a direct pharmacological
association, which means that if you take marijuana ipso facto
you become physically vulnerable to the opiate. It isn't that
"there is no pharmacological relation between the two drugs
in the laboratory, but it is far from certain that there is no
association in the street." Rather,
it is that a specific social group defines both as acceptable
and pleasurable, offering opportunities for members to use both.
As the New York State Narcotics Control Commission data show,
it is entirely possible that in slum and ghetto milieu, marijuana
use leads to, or, in a very broad sense, potentiates, heroin use.
But it is not marijuana, specifically, that provides the impelling
force. Marijuana and heroin use in the slum are mutual components
in a subculture. Marijuana is experienced sooner in the encounter
with this subculture; it is on the periphery of this quasi-criminal
subculture. Yet the involvement with marijuana is obviously a
matter of degree. Taking a few puffs of a marijuana cigarette
during a school lunch period may not implicate one in any heroin-linked
activities or associations. But daily use has a far higher chance
of doing just that. In the ghetto milieu, progressive involvement
with marijuana is likely to precipitate encounters with heroin
users. The more that one uses marijuana in the lower-class slum,
the greater is the likelihood that one will later use heroin;
the two exist in the same subcultural context. Interactions, friendships,
associations, which are carried out as a result of marijuana
use are likely to precipitate heroin-using involvements, particularly
if they are frequent and intimate. In this sense, and in
this sense only, marijuana use leads to heroin use.
One subcase of this line of reasoning is the "supplier"
theory of drug progression. By smoking marijuana, one is to some
degree forced to interact with the criminal underworld. The seller
of marijuana is also invariably a narcotics supplier, or so the
theory has it. By buying marijuana, one often interacts with,
forms friendships with, comes to respect the opinions of, the
seller of the drug, who is generally older, more experienced and
sophisticated, involved in a daring and dangerous life, and is
respected and eagerly sought after by many members of one subcommunity.
This interaction can be seen as having a hook attached to it:
the seller does not make as much profit from the bulky, low-priced,
sporadically used marijuana as he would selling heroin, so that
he is, therefore, anxious to have his customers use the more profitable
drug. The neophyte drug user gradually acquires the seller's favorable
definition of, and accepts opportunities for, heroin use.
In large part, the association of the two drugs is seen as
an unintended consequence of their mutual illegality. If marijuana
were readily available, it would not be necessary to go to the
underworld drug supplier, and the impelling thrust behind this
relationship would be removed. This argument holds that the agent
most responsible for the progression from marijuana to heroin
is the police, that is, law enforcement agencies from the Federal
Bureau of Narcotics to the local authorities. It is the fact that
marijuana users, are, willy-nilly, involved in criminal activity
and in criminal associations that makes for this drug progression.
The fact that those who use marijuana, a nonaddicting stimulant,
are also required to see themselves as furtive criminals could
in some part also account for the presumed tendency of the majority
of, if not all, drug addicts to start out by using marijuana.
It is a reasonable hypothesis that the movement from the nonaddicting
drugs or stimulants to the addictive is made more natural because
both are forced to belong to the same marginal, quasi-criminal
If the social theory of drug progression has any validity,
then further thought yields the realization that marijuana has
relatively little to do with the actual mechanics of the link.
We must make a clear distinction between a simple association
or correlation and actual cause. We are a long way from
the description of a fact (marijuana and heroin exist, in some
drug-using groups, in mutual association) to the attribution of
causality (marijuana use causes heroin addiction). In this case,
both marijuana use and heroin use are part of the same basic syndrome,
only in one specific social environment. In other words, marijuana
use does not cause heroin addiction, but both are caused by a
third outside condition. The automatic attribution of causality
here is classified as a post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.
Something that happens in association with, and after, something
else is not necessarily caused by that earlier event. The
link may exist elsewhere; in this case, the social environment.
The simple-minded impute causality to time-ordered association.
The sophisticated withhold such judgments. Naturally, this whole
argument is dependent on the empirical fact of the mutuality of
marijuana and heroin in "quasi-criminal" contexts which
vary considerably from one group, class, and community to another.
A recent work on multiple drug use among college students shows
the relative absence of the opiates on campus. According to Richard
Blum, the total
number who used any of the opiates in each of the schools was
always under five, or about 1 percent of his five campus samples.
(Actually, most of those who had tried one of the opiates had
tried opium, not heroin, which is far weaker in effect and very,
very infrequently leads to addiction in America, although obviously,
quite often in the Orient.) The marijuana use ranged from about
a third of the students to a tenth, depending on the campus. The
degree of the use of marijuana, as opposed to any opiate,
including heroin, on the college campus, is of a wholly different
magnitude. Even if heroin use on the college campus in the past
two years has doubled or tripled, the numbers are still minuscule.
Does marijuana precipitate or lead to heroin on the college
campus? Obviously not, if the heroin users are microscopic in
number. Actually, this notion cannot be dismissed so lightly;
it deserves some exploration. Even though the opiate users may
be insignificant in number, it is entirely possible that the marijuana
user is more likely to use one of the opiates than the person
who does not use marijuana. Blum correlated figures for the use
of each of the various drugs. These figures show that users of
any given drug are more likely to use (or to have tried) any other
drug. However, for each drug, the degree of increasing the likelihood
varies from one drug to another. The users of LSD, say, are
more likely to have taken at least one of the tranquilizers
or barbiturates to get high than those who have never tried LSD;
however, the difference between the two figures is small.
On the other hand, using heroin considerably increases the chances
of having taken, say, dolophine or dilaudid. Rather than looking
to see whether there is a simple increase over the nonuser, it
is more profitable to look at differences among various categories
of drug users, as well as the degree of increase.
On the surface, this evidence will appear to support the antimarijuana,
progression hypothesis. In a very narrow statistical sense, marijuana
does lead to heroin, even on the college campus. Of course, most
pot users never even try any of the opiates, but at the very least,
having smoked pot increases one's chances of ever trying (and
possibly becoming deeply involved with) the addicting drugs. Or
so it would seem. Blum's data, however, are more complex than
that. The correlation between marijuana and the opiates is not
substantial; however, it is statistically significant. But the
correlation between tobacco and marijuana, and alcohol and marijuana,
is as large, and even larger than, the marijuana-opiates correlation.
|tobacco-marijuana correlation: r =.31|
|alcohol-marijuana correlation: r =.22|
|marijuana-opiates correlation: r =.24|
This means that if the argument that marijuana leads to the
opiates is meaningful, so is the claim that alcohol or cigarettes
lead to the use of marijuana. Alcohol
and cigarettes lead to marijuana in the same degree that marijuana
leads to the opiates. If the former argument is absurd, then so
is the latter. They make the same degree of empirical sense. These
data, however valid, will be of no interest to the propagandists.
The cliché that marijuana leads to heroin will be repeated
without realizing that the argument that cigarettes lead to marijuana
is equally valid and equally absurd. Thus, although alcohol and
marijuana are often seen as competitors and are to some degree
mutually exclusive, in fact, drinkers are more likely to smoke
(at least, to try) marijuana than nondrinkers are. The few very
heavy drinkers are unlikely to use pot regularly and if these
near-alcoholics begin using marijuana, their alcoholic consumption
typically drops. But on the gross overall levels, drinking liquor
increases one's chances of trying marijuana. Individuals who
drink more than occasionally have a much higher likelihood of
ever trying marijuana than those who drink only occasionally.
The Simon-Gagnon college youth survey
cited in Chapter 2 uncovered the dense and
close relationship between the consumption of these two intoxicants.
Only 4 percent of the male and 2 percent of the female nondrinkers
had ever tried marijuana, but 22 percent of the male and 13 percent
of the female moderate-or-more drinkers had done so. Moreover,
only 6 percent of the men and 7 percent of the women nondrinkers
who had never smoked marijuana said that they might like to try;
while of the moderate or more drinkers, almost a third said they
would like to try.
In a statewide representative study of the high school students
in the state of Michigan conducted in 1968, a powerful relationship
between drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana was found.
Only 2 percent of the students who said that
they did not drink claimed ever to have smoked marijuana. The
figure was nearly ten times higher, 17 percent, for the youths
who drank alcohol. And almost 20 percent of these high school
students who drank said that if they were offered pot in a congenial
setting by a friend, they would accept; only 3 percent of the
nondrinkers said that they would. On the other hand, only 8 percent
of the drinkers said that if offered, they would tell officials
about the offer, but a quarter of the nondrinkers would inform
the police or a high school official representative. About twice
the percentage of drinkers as nondrinkers thought that marijuana
was basically harmless or beneficial. High school and college
students who drink alcoholic beverages are clearly far more likely
to progress to the use of marijuana than their peers who do not
This means that the claim that heroin addicts started with
marijuana turns out to be false. The drug that nearly all addicts
started with is, of course, alcohol, and not marijuana. The adolescent's
first experiences with a psychoactive drug are invariably with
alcohol, and not marijuana. And the alcohol-drinking adolescent
is statistically more likely to "go on" to use marijuana,
just as the marijuana smoker is statistically more likely to go
on to use heroinor any other drugthan the adolescent who
never drinks alcohol or smokes pot. Obviously, much of the causality
in the relationship must be laid at the doorstep of experiences
tracing back before the young adult's first marijuana experience.
In other words, it is not only the friendships and associations
that the young marijuana user makes in the process of smoking
pot which makes it more likely that he will experiment with
more powerful drugs. It is also necessary to explore early family
experiences. I do not refer to the classic psychoanalytic variables,
but to cultural and style of life variables. Parents who drink
are more likely to raise children who have a more tolerant attitude
toward drugs in general, and who have a higher chance of experimenting
with drugs. The
example of parents is a powerful factor in unwittingly generating
the adolescent's deviant behavior. Parents who drink and smoke
react hostilely to their children's drug use without realizing
that they had a hand in it.
Some Recent Trends
Many journalists think that since about 1967 heroin is increasingly
used in social groups which had shunned it previously. College
students, suburban residents, white middle-class youths of all
kinds are beginning to experiment with heroin and the other narcotics,
some eventually becoming addicted. A newspaper story announces,
"Heroin Invades Middle Class."
Another intones, "Use of Heroin Said
to Grow in Colleges."
No serious observer doubts that the use of heroin has increased
in the past few years, and, moreover, is now used in social and
economic groups which previously had shunned it altogether. College
and even high school students with upper-middle-class backgrounds
seem to be experimenting with, and even becoming addicted to,
heroin in numbers which were totally unknown in 1967 or 1968.
The suburban addict has become a reality. And of course, addiction
to heroin seems to be rising among all groups, not merely the
affluent, and especially among teenagers. (It is unfortunate that
widespread public attention to this problem did not come about
until it became a problem among white middle-class youth, and
not when it was mainly concentrated in the slums.) For instance,
teenage deaths from heroin overdosages in New York City have risen
about five times since 1965. Arrests on "opiates" charges
in California tripled between 1967 and 1968 for juveniles (see
Table 8-8 for these figures.) Schools
in which heroin use was previously unknown find themselves
with noticeable numbers of users; schools in which heroin use
was rare but noticeable now have a thriving colony of users.
Drug Arrests in California, 1960 to 1968 [a]
| Marijuana ||Opiates [b]|| Dangerous |
| Marijuana ||Opiates [b]|| Dangerous |
[a] Does not include the category "other offenses."
[b] Not all "opiate" arrests are on the basis of heroin
charges, although most are. In 1968, the California Bureau of
Criminal Statistics combined the categories "heroin and other
narcotics" and "narcotic addict or user" into the
single category "opiates." Thus, for the previous years,
I have combined these two categories to make them consistent with
the 1968 designation.
[c] The main drugs included in the category
"dangerous drugs" are the amphetamines and LSD: however,
LSD was not added to the "dangerous drugs" category
There is, then, no question that this process is taking place.
But there is some question as to its extent. It is an easy matter
to exaggerate the depth of a problem and to declare that a previously
absent problem is reaching epidemic proportions. The question
of whether a given condition should exist at all is completely
separate from the issue of how widespread it is. It is necessary
to place the problem in perspective. First of all, recall from
earlier chapters that a minority of America's youth has tried
marijuana onceabout a quarter of college youth, and fewer younger
adolescents and young adults who do not attend college. And the
marijuana experimenters who progress to use marijuana regularly
are only a small minority of this small minority. Further, the
regular marijuana users who progress to heroin are still a smaller
proportion of this tiny segment. Actual addiction is less likely
still. Of course, in some milieu, such as in and near large cities,
especially New York, far more adolescents will take heroin than
in rural areas; but even in New York, it is a minority phenomenon.
In early 1970, I conducted a brief study of drug use
among the students of a deviance and delinquency class in
a large suburban university. Some tentative generalizations
relevant to multiple drug use may be made, using this study.
About a quarter of the over 500 students in the sample
had not tried any drug, including marijuana, even once, to get
high. (Medical uses were not considered.) About a third had tried
marijuana at least once, but had not used any other drugs. Thus,
slightly under half had smoked marijuana and, in addition, had
used some other drug at least once: they were multiple drug users.
Ranking the drugs according to what proportion of the students
in the sample had ever used them produces a rank-order almost
identical to my 1967 New York marijuana smokers study,
cited in the beginning of this chapter, and the EV0 study, also
done in New York in 1967. The drugs most often used are
the amphetamines and the psychedelics; one of the drugs least
often used, aside from a variety of miscellaneous drugs, is
heroin. Heroin does not appear among the first half-dozen drugs
most often used among young adults. About a third of the students
had taken at least one of the amphetamines at least once (although
for exactly what purposes I was not able to determine due to the
questionnaire's brevitymany used pills to study for examinations
at night). The next most popular drug was mescaline; slightly
fewer than a third had taken mescaline at least once. About a
quarter of the sample had taken LSD. The next most frequent drugs
used were the barbiturates and tranquilizersabout half as many
as had tried LSD took "downs" at least once. The remaining
drugs, in order of the number of students who had taken them,
were: opium, cocaine, methedrine, and DMT. Heroin was sampled
by about 5 percent of the students. Of these, about six
students admitted to regular use (more than a dozen times); this
is about 1 percent of the sample.
An exploratory study such as this cannot be regarded as precise
or infallible; it is, for instance, possible for students to avoid
admitting to drug use, even in an anonymous questionnaire distributed
to a class of 500 students. (Some students hinted at exaggeration
rather than understatement.) And the students in this particular
class may not represent the entire university, and the experiences
of this university may not be duplicated at other ones, and so
on. But as a scrap of evidence, it may be useful to help piece
together the whole picture. But bringing evidence to bear on the
heroin question is not in any way an effort to minimize the problem.
The use of this dangerous narcotic is engaging a larger and
larger number of our youth today. The situation that exists
in 1970 may not be valid in 1975. At the same
time, it is necessary to examine the facts. And the facts indicate
that there appears to be no cause for the cry epidemic. It is
possible that in some neighborhoods or schools the problem is
that extensive. But looking at the broader picture, such a situation
has not materialized. A rational and sober assault on the heroin
problem is called for, and not sensational cries of a mythical
Although it in no way minimizes the heroin issue, a related
point has tended to become lost in the public outcry against heroin.
The heavy use of methedrine ("meth" or "speed")
is actually far more dangerous than heroin addiction. The physically
debilitating longterm effects of heroinoverdosing asideare
relatively trivial.** Methedrine,
on the other hand, is debilitating and toxic. The nervous system
is progressively destroyed by heavy continued dosages of this
drug. Moreover, the use of this drug is extremely widespread;
although exact figures are impossible to obtain, there may be
more chronic users of methedrine than heroin addicts. This does
not even count the millions of housewives, truckdrivers, and businessmen,
who use smaller doses of the amphetamines over long periods of
time. Although there has been some recent attention paid to the
amphetamine and methedrine problem,
the public is generally completely ignorant
about the degree of its seriousness, as well as its extent of
use. As long as marijuana continues to be socially defined as
a serious social problem, it is unlikely that any progress will
be made toward a solution of the problem of the use of really
potent drugs. There is no indication that any such awareness is
emerging, so that American society will continue to have its heroin
and methedrine problems for some time to come.
* In the chapter on "Marijuana and the
Law," we show that the large majority of arrests that occur
are a result of accidental patrol enforcement. The statement on
the incaution of arrested users does not contradict this fact.
It is the incautious user who is most likely to be in situations
where the police may accidentally discover his possession, use,
and sale. (back)
For a description of these various styles of drug use, see Herbert
Blumer, Alan Sutter Samir Ahmed, and Roger Smith, The World
of Youthful Drug Use (Berkeley: School of Criminology, University
of California, January 1967), pp. 13-47.
** This point illustrates the fact that
addiction, in and of itself, is not an adequate measure of the
degree of harm of a drug. Methedrine, which is not addicting technically,
is more dangerous than heroin, which is. (back)
N O T E S
1. Elmer James Rollings, "Marihuanathe
Weed of Woe" (Wichita, Kan.: Defender Tract Club, n.d. [circa
2. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, "Living
Death: The Truth about Drug Addiction" (Washington: U.S.
Government Printing Office, 1965). (back)
3. Gene R. Haslip, "Current Issues in
the Prevention and Control of Marihuana Abuse" (Paper presented
to the First National Conference on Student Drug Involvement sponsored
by the United States National Student Association at the University
of Maryland, August 16, 1967). See also, Henry L. Giordano, "The
Prevention of Drug Abuse," Humanist, March-April 1968,
pp. 20-23. Word for word, Giordano duplicates Haslip's sentence
on drug progression. (back)
4. Theo Wilson, "I am a Drug Addict:
An Autobiography," New York Daily News, February 14,
1968, p. C6. (back)
5. See The East Village Other, January
l-15, p. 6. Consider only the following possibilities of sampling
bias: EVO readers do not represent marijuana smokers in general;
EVO readers do not represent even New York area marijuana smokers,
the EVO reader who is sufficiently motivated to fill out the questionnaire
doesn't represent all EVO readers; all EVO purchasers do not represent
all EVO readers, some EVO readers (none of which sent in the questionnaire)
do not use drugs; and so forth. We use this survey only as rough
corroborative evidence. (back)
6. Daniel Glaser, Tames A. Inciardi, and Dean
V. Babst, "Later Heroin Use by Marijuana-Using, Heroin-Using,
and Non-Drug-Using Adolescent Offenders in New York City,"
The International Journal of the Addictions 4 (Tune 1969):
7. John C. Ball, Carl D. Chambers, and Marion
.T Ball. "The Association of Marihuana Smoking with
Opiate Addiction in the United States," Journal of Criminal
Law, Criminology, and Police Science 59 (June 1968): 171-182.
8. The best description of social definitions
of heroin as the ultimate kick may still be found in "Cats.
Kicks and Color," by Harold Finestone, in the anthology edited
by Howard S. Becker, The Other Side (New York: The Free
Press, 1964), pp. 281-297. (back)
9. Giordano, op. cit., p. 21. (back)
10. Henry L. Giordano, "MarihuanaA
Calling Card to Addiction," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
37, no. 1l (November 1968): 5. See also Giordano, "The
Dangers of Marihuana, Facts You Should Know" (Washington:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 68). (back)
11. I am grateful to Professor John Kaplan
for this insight. See his Marijuana: The New Prohibition, forthcoming.
12. Jean Cocteau, French artist, writer,
and filmmaker, 1891-1963, was addicted to opium in the 19205;
he wrote a book about his experiences, translated into English
as Opium: Diary of a Cure (New York: Grove Press, 1958).
The bodily effects of opium are superficially similar to heroin
in some respects, although considerably weaker. Heroin is, of
course, a derivative of opium. (back)
13. Henry Brill, "Drugs and Drug Users:
Some Perspectives," in New York State Narcotic Addiction
Control Commission, Drugs on the Campus: An Assessment (The
Saratoga Springs Conference on Colleges and Universities of New
York State, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., October 25-27, 1967), p. 59.
14. Brill, "Why Not Pot Now? Some Questions
and Answers," Psychiatric Opinion 5, no. 5 (October
1968): 18. (back)
15. For an example of this line of reasoning,
see Alfred R. Lindesmith and John H. Gagnon, "Anomie and
Drug Addiction," in Marshall B. Clinard, ed., Anomie and
Deviant Behavior (New York: The Free Press, 1964), pp. 171-174.
16. Kenneth B. Clark, Dark Ghetto (New
York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 90. (back)
17. Richard H. Blum et al., Students and
Drugs (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969), pp. 101-109. (back)
18. I am making the empirically valid
assumption that the first instance of alcohol and cigarette use
generally precedes rather than follows the use of marijuana, and
that the use of marijuana precedes the initial use of the opiates.
19. William Simon and John H. Gagnon, The
End of Adolescence (New York: Harper & Row, 1970). (back)
20. Richard A. Bogg, Roy G. Smith, and Susan
Russell, Drugs and Michigan High School Students (Lansing:
Michigan House of Representatives, Special Committee on Narcotics,
December 9, 1968). The figures I present were not calculated in
this study. Mr. Bogg kindly lent me a copy of the IBM cards which
stored this study's data, and I calculated the percentages myself.
I would like to thank Mr. Bogg for his generosity. (back)
21. See the study by the Addiction Research
Foundation of Toronto, Canada, A Preliminary Report on the
Attitudes and Behaviour of Toronto Students in Relation to Drugs
(Toronto. Addiction Research Foundation, January 1969), p.
66 and Tables 18 and 19. Recently Mayor Lindsay of New York City
claimed that television was one of the causes of tolerance in
attitudes toward drugs among today's youth, and partly responsible
for drug use. Actually, as the Toronto study shows, drug users
are more skeptical toward the mass media as a source of information
about drugs than nonusers are. See pp. 56-57 and Table 45. (back)
22. Philip D. Carter, "Heroin Invades
the World of the White Middle Class," The Washington Post,
February 16, 1969, pp. A1, A8.(back)
23. Peter Kihss, "Use of Heroin Said
to Grow in Colleges, but Number of Addicts is Still Small,"
The New York Times, March 1l, 1969, p.35. (back)
24. State of California Department of Justice,
Bureau of Criminal Statistics, Drug Arrests and Dispositions
in California: 1968 (Sacramento: State of California, 1969),
1968 Drug Arrests in California: Advance Report (Sacramento:
State of California, April 1969), and Drug Arrests and Dispositions
in California: 1967 (Sacramento: State of California, 1968).
The same trends are noticeable in Great Britain. The number of
cannabis offences and heroin addicts seem to be increasing almost
identically. See Nicholas Wade, "Pot and Heroin," New
Society, January 23, 1969, p. 117. (back)
25. For a frightening, although sensationalistic,
journalistic account of the lives of several chronic amphetamine
users, see Gail Sheehy, "The Amphetamine Explosion,"
New York, July 21, 1969, pp. 26-42. Earlier journalistic
articles include John Kifner, "Methedrine Use Is Growing,"
The New York Times, October 17, 1967, pp. 1, 40, and Don
McNeill, "The A-Heads: An Amphetamine Apple in Psychedelic
Eden," The Village Voice, February 2, 1967, pp. 11,
31. Blumer's study also contains some material on the use of the