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Nicholson, T., White, J., Minors, P., and Duncan, D. Parents who report using illicit drugs: findings and implications from the DRUGNET study. Psychol Rep. 2001 Feb;88(1):245-51.

In recent years, a national discussion has emerged concerning what parents should tell their children about their own past drug use. DRUGNET is an ongoing, on-line survey of successful, healthy, adults who occasionally use illicit drugs. This paper reviews data from a subset of this survey, namely, those respondents who were parents with self-reported use of at least one illicit drug. The sample (n = 325) was predominantly white men who reported having above average education and household incomes. Their mental health as measured by the General Well-being Schedule was similar to the national norm. Respondents reported using drugs to manage parental stress and expressed concerns over how to communicate with their children and legal risks related to their own drug use. The limitations and the implications of these data are discussed.

Donnelly, J.; Hollenbeck, W.; Eadie, C.; Duncan, D. F.; and Eburne, N. College students distorted perceptions of drug dangers: Overestimation and underestimation of licit and illicit drugs. International Electronic Journal of Health Education 2000; 3, 272-277.

Presents the results of a survey of 156 students enrolled in two major state universities. The survey was based on the model of Luce and Merrell (1995). The survey assessed student's perceptions of the levels of danger and addictive potential respectively associated with use of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and tobacco. Students consistently overestimated both the dangerousness and the addictive potential of illicit drugs and underestimated the danger and addiction potential of alcohol and tobacco use.

Reneau, J., Nicholson, T., White, J., and Duncan, D. F. The general well-being of recreational drug users: a survey on the WWW. Int. J. Drug Policy. 2000 Sep 1;11(5):315-323.

American drug policy is predicated upon a dichotomy between legal drugs and illegal drugs - good drugs that enhance health and bad drugs that damage health. The observation of psychiatric co-morbidity between substance misuse disorders and other mental disorders is commonly taken to mean that drug use is damaging to mental health. The purpose of this study was to examine the mental well-being of a sample of occasional, recreational drug users. DRUGNET is an on-line survey of recreational drug use by non-deviant adults via the WWW. Volunteer subjects (n=906) completed the survey over the internet between March and September 1997. Mental health was assessed utilizing the General Well-being Schedule (GWBS). A complete demographic profile of the sample was taken. The mean GWBS score and distribution of scores for this population was nearly identical to that of the general population.. This study demonstrates the existence of healthy, normally functioning adults who occasionally use psychoactive drugs.

Nicholson, T., White, J., & Duncan, D. F. A survey of adult recreational drug use via the World Wide Web: the DRUGNET study. J Psychoactive Drugs. 1999 Oct-Dec;31(4):415-22.

DRUGNET is a cross-sectional survey of adult recreational drug users (i.e., not abusers) via the World Wide Web of the Internet. The purpose of this survey is to provide a unique, broad description of nondeviant adult recreational drug users. The survey instrument has four divisions: demographic and lifestyle indices, drug use history, legal history and attitudes about drug issues, and the General Well-being Schedule (GWBS). Responses were received from 1,473 self-identified drug users. Of these, 567 completed only the first section, leaving 906 respondents who completed the entire survey. The typical respondent was a White male who was well educated, employed full-time, a participant in recreational and community activities, and who described his physical health status as good. Their mental health, as measured by the GWBS, was similar to the general adult U.S. population. Their drug-taking behavior appeared to be well-controlled, at mild to moderate levels in both frequency of use and degree of intoxication. These findings have major implications for drug policy and indicate the need for further research on the majority of drug users, who may be expected to resemble this sample more than they do clinical populations of drug abusers.

Duncan, D. F., Donnelly, J., White, J., & White, J. Chronic drinking, binge drinking, and drunk driving II. Psychol Rep. 1999 Feb;84(1):145-6.

Data from the Rhode Island Behavioral Risk Factor Survey on self-reported alcohol consumption and drunk driving were examined. Driving while intoxicated was significantly associated with both binge drinking and chronic drinking, but the measures of drinking were not significantly associated.

Duncan, D. F. Prevention issues. In: R. L. Hampton, V. Senatore, & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Substance abuse, family violence, and child welfare (pp. 249-262). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998.

Duncan, D. F. Chronic drinking, binge drinking and drunk driving. Psychol Rep. 1997 Apr;80(2):681-2.

Data from the Brief Risk Factor Surveillance System on 47 states were examined in an ecological analysis of the relationship between rates of binge drinking, chronic drinking, and driving while intoxicated (DWI). DWI rates were significantly associated with rates of binge drinking but not with chronic heavy drinking. This finding has implications for the nature and targets of efforts toward prevention.
Lewis, D. C., Duncan, D. F., and Clifford, P. Reconceptualizing the analysis of drug policy. Journal of Primary Prevention 1997; 17(3), No abstract available.
Duncan, D. F. Uses and misuses of epidemiology in shaping and assessing drug policy. Journal of Primary Prevention 1997; 17, 375-382. No abstract available.

Duncan, D. F. Declining alcohol consumption in the U.S. and Rhode Island. Medicine and Health R I. 1997 Mar; 80(3):94-5. No abstract available.

Duncan, D. F. Patterns of alcohol use and misuse among adults in Rhode Island. Medicine and Health R I. 1997 Mar; 80(3):80-2. No abstract available.

Duncan, D. F. , & Nicholson, T. Dutch drug policy: a model for America? J Health Soc Policy. 1997;8(3):1-15.

While debates over drug policy in America have focused on choices between demand reduction and supply reduction, the Dutch have pioneered the alternative strategy of harm reduction. The Dutch have built their policy around the principles of separation of markets, low threshold treatment, and normalization of treatment. These policies are worthy of examination as a possible model for drug policy reform in America.

Duncan, D. F., & Petosa, R. Social and community factors associated with drug use and abuse among adolescents. In: T. P. Gullotta, G. R. Adams, & R. Montemayor (Eds.) Substance Abuse in Adolescence (pp. 56-91). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995.

Proposes separate webs of causation leading to use of illicit drugs by adolescents and to subsequent abuse of those drugs by a subset of users. Examines the important role played by societal and community factor in shaping both the etiology of and recovery from drug abuse.

Rice, C., & Duncan, D. F. Alcohol use and reported physician visits in older adults. Preventive Med. 1995 May;24(3):229-34.

In general, older adults use a greater proportion of health care services than other age segments of the population. Alcohol abusers also use a greater proportion of health care services than alcohol nonabusers. Therefore we expected that among older adults, alcohol consumption would be positively related to health service use. In a sample of older adults, this study examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and an indicator of health service use--the self-reported number of physician visits. METHODS. Data obtained on adult participants in the 1990 National Health Interview Survey, age 60 and older (n = 10,522), were examined. The number of physician visits was regressed on health status and alcohol consumption measures. RESULTS. Counter to a priori expectations, alcohol consumption was negatively associated with physician visits. This finding was obtained after adjusting for respondent sex and health status measures. CONCLUSIONS. Other research suggests that the rates of alcohol-related hospital admissions among older adults are on par with those of myocardial infarctions--an indication that harmful use of alcohol in older adults is going undetected. We found heavier alcohol consumption associated with fewer physician visits. This underscores the need for a better understanding of the role alcohol serves in the health perceptions of older adults. Broadening our knowledge in this area would be of benefit not only to the well-being of individuals also for health services policy considerations.

Duncan, D. F. Drug law enforcement expenditures and drug-induced deaths.Psychol Rep. 1994 Aug;75(1 Pt 1):57-8.

The association between federal expenditures for drug law enforcement and the number of drug-induced deaths in the USA from 1981 through 1991 was examined. Increased expenditures for drug law enforcement were associated with both numbers of deaths and death rates.

Duncan, D. F., Nicholson, T., Clifford, P., Hawkins, W., & Petosa, R. Harm reduction: an emerging new paradigm for drug education. J Drug Educ. 1994;24(4):281-90.

Harm reduction is a new paradigm now emerging in the field of drug education. This strategy recognizes that people always have and always will use drugs and, therefore, attempts to minimize the potential hazards associated with drug use rather than the use itself. The rationale for a harm reduction strategy is presented, followed by an example of the kind of needs assessment which may be needed for planning a harm reduction strategy.

Duncan, D. F. , & Rice, C. Is smoking associated with height and weight?
Psychol Rep. 1993 Aug;73(1):224-6.

The previously reported positive relationship between height and tobacco smoking was tested using data from a representative sample of the U.S. population (N = 41,014). Both height and weight were associated with smoking. A further analysis for males and females separately showed that the initial results were a result of confounding of the variables with gender.

Duncan, D. F. Drug abuse prevention in post-legalization America: What could it be like? Journal of Primary Prevention 1992; 12, 317-322.

Duncan, D. F. Problems associated with three commonly used drugs: A survey of rural secondary school students. Psychology of Addictive Behavior 1992; 5(2),

Assesses self-reported problems associated with use of alcohol, aspirin and marijuana.

Duncan, D. F. Assessing the harms associated with drugs. In A. Trebach and K. Zeese (Eds.), Drugs, Medicine and Health: A Practical Manual for Medical and Scientific Professionals. Washington, DC: Drug Policy Foundation, 1992.

Proposes that an empirical examination of the actual harms attributable to drugs, licit or illicit, should be the basis of drug policy. The goal of any drug policy should be to minimize those harms.

Bills, S. A., & Duncan, D. F. Drugs and sex: 'a survey of college students' beliefs.
Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1991 Jun;72(3 Pt 2):1293-4.

Seventy-one university students were surveyed regarding the effects of five drugs on human sexuality. Most of the myths examined were believed by a number of the 71 students surveyed. Users of alcohol (n = 62) and cocaine (n = 22) were more accurate in identifying effects than were nonusers.

Duncan, D. F. Reasons for discontinuing hashish use in a group of Central European athletes. J Drug Educ. 1988;18(1):49-53. No abstract available.

Duncan, D. F. (1987 Lifetime prevalence of "amotivational syndrome" among users and non-users of hashish. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 1(2), 114-119.

Achalu, O. E., & Duncan, D. F. Drug-taking among Nigerian students at universities in the United States of America. Bull Narc. 1987;39(2):75-80.

A sample survey of Nigerian students conducted by means of a self-administered drug use questionnaire at three universities in the United States of America showed that at some time in their lives 91.2 per cent of the respondents had used alcoholic beverages, 62.3 per cent tobacco, 30.6 per cent cannabis, 6.3 per cent inhalants, 19.7 per cent amphetamines or amphetamine-type substances, 4.6 per cent cocaine, 2.1 per cent hallucinogens, 23.8 per cent tranquillizers, 4.2 per cent sedatives, 4.2 per cent opium, 1.3 per cent heroin and 20.5 per cent other opiates. These substances were used for non-medical purposes. In addition, the results of the survey showed that in the last 12 months before the survey 79.1 per cent of the respondents had used alcoholic beverages, 41.8 per cent tobacco, 2.9 per cent inhalants, 19.2 per cent cannabis, 10.4 per cent amphetamines and amphetamine-type substances, 2.1 per cent cocaine, 1.7 per cent hallucinogens, 5.4 per cent tranquillizers, 2.5 per cent sedatives, 2.1 per cent opium, 1.3 per cent heroin and 8.8 per cent other opiates. The survey also showed that in the last 30 days before the survey 64 per cent of the respondents had used alcoholic beverages, 31.8 per cent tobacco, 2.1 per cent inhalants, 13.9 per cent cannabis, 5.3 per cent amphetamines and amphetamine-type substances, 0.8 per cent cocaine, 1.2 per cent hallucinogens, 2.1 per cent tranquillizers, 2.1 per cent sedatives, 2.1 per cent opium, 1.3 per cent heroin and 5.1 per cent other opiates.

Duncan, D. F., & Martin, C. E. (1987). Problems associated with three commonly used drugs: A survey of college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 1987; 1(1), 70-73. No abstract available.

Duncan, D, F. Psychoactive drugs: Impacts on mind and behavior. In K. Mullen, R. S. Gold, P. A. Belcastro, & R. J. McDermott (Eds.) Connections for Health, Dubuque: W. C. Brown, 1986 (also 1990, 1993, and 1997). No abstract available.

Henningson, K. A., Gold, R. S., & Duncan, D. F. A computerized marijuana decision maze: expert opinion regarding its use in health education. J Drug Educ. 1986;16(3):243-61. No abstract available.

Martin, C. E., & Duncan, D. F. Televised OTC drug ads as surrogate dope pushers among young people: Fact or fiction? Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education 1984; 29(4), 19-30. No abstract available.

Achalu, O. E., & Duncan, D. F. Drug taking by Nigerian students in American universities: prevalences for four commonly used drugs. Int J Addict. 1984 May;19(3):253-63.

A standardized-item survey of drug taking was administered to 239 Nigerian students attending three American universities. Alcohol was the most widely used drug in the sample (current use by 64%), followed by tobacco (31.8% current use), cannabis (13.9%), and amphetamine and other stimulants (5.3%). Differences are reported between males and females, and among age groups and college levels. Levels of drug taking were high but no higher than those commonly reported for U.S. college students.

Martin, C. E., Duncan, D. F., & Zunich, E. M Students' motives for discontinuing illicit drug taking. Health Values 1983; 7(5), 8-11. No abstract available.

Duncan, D. F., & Gold, R. S. (1983). Cultivating drug use: A strategy for the 80s Bulletin of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors 1983; 2, 143-147.

One of the earliest published expressions of the policy now known as harm reduction.

Duncan, D. F., and Gold, R. S. Drugs and the Whole Person. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982.

At one time the number two selling college text on drug use and abuse. Introduced a classification scheme for drugs and a wholistic perspective that influenced many subsequent texts. Two chapters from this now out-of-print text are reproduced on this website -- on Primary Prevention and on Responsibilities of the Recreational Drug User.

Duncan, D. F. Family stress and the initiation of adolescent drug abuse. Corrective and Social Psychiatry 1978; 24(3), No abstract available.

Duncan, D. F. Life stress as a precursor to adolescent drug dependence. Int J Addict. 1977 Dec;12(8):1047-56.

Though drug dependence is often characterized as a stress-produced disorder, there seems to be little or no quantitative data relating stress and drug dependence. In this study a recognized instrument for the measurement of stress, Coddington's Life Event Record, was administered to 31 drug-dependent adolescents to estimate levels of life stress during the year preceding their first illicit drug use. The drug-dependent subjects showed significantly higher life stress scores than did a standard normal population of adolescents. The null hypothesis of no difference was rejected at the .005 level. A stress-reduction or self-medication theory of drug dependence gains support from these results.

Duncan, D. F Negative reactions to drug users by emergency room personnel. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 1977; 2(2), 103-105.

Duncan, D. F. Stress and adolescent drug dependence: A brief report. I.R.C.S. Medical-Science 1976; 4, 381.

Duncan, D. F. The acquisition, maintenance and treatment of polydrug dependence: A public health model. J. Psychedelic Drugs 1975; 7(2), 201-213. No abstract available.

A fuller elaboration of Duncan's behavioral version of the self-medication hypothesis of addiction and its application to polydrug dependence. Makes use of the traditional epidemiological triad of host, agent, and environment.

Duncan, D. F. Marijuana and heroin: a study of initiation of drug use by heroin addicts. Br J Addict Alcohol Other Drugs. 1975 Jun;70(2):192-7. No abstract available.

Described by the late Dr. Norman Zinberg as the final and conclusive disproof of the "escalation hypothesis" that marijuana use caused users to progress to heroin or other addictions.

Duncan, D. F. Reinforcement of drug abuse: Implications for prevention. Clinical Toxicology Bulletin 1974; 4(2), 69-75.

This paper more fully elaborates Duncan's behavioral version of the self-medication hypothesis of drug dependence. Drug use may be positively reinforced by the pleasurable effects of the drug but it only becomes drug abuse when it is negatively reinforced by giving relief from some preexisting state of mental discomfort or stress. The intensity, compulsiveness and proneness to relapse that characterize drug dependence are all characteristic of behaviors learned through negative reinforcement.

Duncan, D. F. Drug abuse as a coping mechanism. Am J Psychiatry. 1974 Jun;131(6):724.

Drug abuse originates as a means of coping with stress or emotional problems. This publication along with a seminal paper by Edward J. Khantzian in the same journal are the original statements of the self-medication hypothesis of drug abuse.