News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis

Tuesday 14th March, 2006

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis

Latest research from the long-running Christchurch Health and Development Study at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences examines the relationship between the use of cannabis and other illicit drugs in a sample of 1000 Christchurch born young people between the ages of 15 – 25. The research results have just been released in the international journal ‘Addiction’.

The University of Otago study shows high rates of both cannabis use and illicit drug use, with nearly 80% of the sample using cannabis by age 25, and over 40% using other illicit drugs. In the great majority of cases the use of cannabis precedes the use of other illicit drug use

Principal Investigator, Professor David Fergusson, says there has been long standing debate over whether the use of cannabis increases the risk that young people will use other illicit drugs.

He says this sequence could suggest a cause and effect relationship where the use of cannabis encourages the use of other illicit drugs. It has often been suggested associations between cannabis and other illicit drug use arise from common factors that predispose young people to using cannabis and other drugs.

However, this study applied complex statistical methods to address this issue, and found that even following statistical controls, there is a clear tendency for those using cannabis to have higher rates of usage of other illicit drugs. This tendency is most evident for regular users of cannabis, and is more marked in adolescents than in young adults.



The research concludes that the evidence favours the view that cannabis may encourage the use of other illicit drugs. This can occur by a variety of routes: cannabis may lead to changes in brain chemistry that make young people more susceptible, experiences with cannabis may encourage experimentation with other drugs. In addition because cannabis use is illegal, users often obtain supplies from the illegal market, which exposes them to drug dealers.

Professor David Fergusson says, “ Our research shows the regular use of cannabis increases the risks that young people will try other illicit drugs. What’s not clear are the underlying processes that lead to this association. Understanding these processes is critical to how we view cannabis.”

“If the association arises because using cannabis increases contact with illegal drug markets, this is a ground for the decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis. If, however, the association arises because using cannabis encourages young people to experiment with other illicit drugs the results could be seen as supporting the prohibition of cannabis use”

This study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Don't Miss The 2019 Jazz Gala Tour

Featuring renowned US rock drummer Gregg Bissonette, vocalist Glenn Walters, and UK trumpet Star Louis Dowdeswell in concert with the Rodger Fox Big Band. More>>

Tuia - Encounters 250: Te Papa Acquires Rare Painting Of Cook's Voyage

Te Papa announced today it has purchased William Hodges’ Waterfall in Dusky Bay with Maori Canoe for New Zealand’s national art collection. More>>

Resene Eighth Annual Architecture & Design Film Festival

This year’s line-up will showcase the most acclaimed and current films in architecture and design, including documentaries on this century’s finest architects, super stars in the design field and movements for environmental change. More>>

Ockhams: ‘Urgently Relevant’ Novel Wins NZ’s Richest Literary Award

Dame Fiona Kidman has won this year’s $53,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her novel, This Mortal Boy, a work described by the judges as ‘moving, memorable, authentic and urgently relevant to our times.’ More>>

ALSO:

Comedy Festival: The Comedy Festival Is On

Binge on almost a full month of comedic delights, as the NZ International Comedy Festival runs from 2-26/5 in Auckland and Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland