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Lifetime illicit drug use and drug dependence are common by the age of 25 in New Zealand

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Q How common is illicit drug use and drug dependence by age 25 in young people in the general population in New Zealand?


Embedded ImageDesign:

Prospective population based cohort study.

Embedded ImageSetting:

Christchurch, New Zealand; 1992–2002.

Embedded ImagePopulation:

1265 young people born in 1977 and recruited into the Christchurch Health and Development Study (Maori: 11%; completed secondary education: 91%).

Embedded ImageAssessment:

At age 15, 16, 18, 21, and 25 years, participants were questioned about illicit drug use including cannabis, solvents, hallucinogens, barbiturates, amfetamines, opiates, cocaine, illegally obtained prescription medications, and plant extracts such as Datura and magic mushrooms. Drug dependence was assessed at age 16, 18, 21, and 25 years based on DSM-IV criteria. Adolescent behaviours, peer affiliations, individual characteristics, and family social background and functioning were assessed to identify risk factors …

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  • For correspondence: Christchurch Health and Development Study, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand; joseph.boden{at}

  • Sources of funding: Health Research Council of New Zealand, National Child Health Research Foundation of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.

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