Characteristics, patterns, and school cultures of drug use in Houston secondary schools



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This thesis explores several issues concerning drug use in the Houston secondary schools. The source of data was the Drug Education Committee of the Houston Independent School District's 1970 study of drug use in the District's secondary schools. Dealing with the data generated by a cross-sectional survey, this analysis: (1) tests the proposition that consistent with other's findings, "soft" drug use is becoming so normative as to be unrelated to any particular social or cultural background factors, but that "hard" drug use is still strongly related to such background factors; (2) determines to what extent "soft" drug use is related to "hard" drug use; and finally, (3) examines school cultures as a possible factor influencing student drug use. This thesis seems to support other studies which have suggested that drug use is related to certain sociocultural variables. On the other hand, this study does not support studies which find important differences between "soft" and "hard" drug users. No important differences were discovered, using socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and sex as independent variables. Social status and ethnicity, however, both seem to be strongly related to both "soft" and "hard" Anglo drug use in the Houston Independent School District. Anglos reported a greater percentage of both "soft" and "hard" drug "users" than Blacks and Mexican-Americans. Higher-status Anglo students reported a greater percentage of "soft" and "hard" drug "users" than lower-status Anglos. The theory of multiple drug use was found to be working in the sample. A reported "soft" drug "user" was more likely than a reported "nonuser" to have also reported "hard" drug use. The school culture hypothesis was tentatively substantiated as drug use was found to vary greatly from school to school, and the drug use of lower-status students in high drug using schools tend to be similar to the drug use of the higher-status students in general.



Drug use, High schools, Houston