The Punishment for Drug Abuse
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
BOTTORFF, A. R. (1999). The Punishment for Drug Abuse. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 2. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved October 19, 2017 .

The Punishment for Drug Abuse
AMY R. BOTTORFF
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
Drug use among adolescents in our society is on the rise and many programs are being created for prevention toward this problem. This study compares the opinions of adolescents toward drug punishment and the fairness of punishment that someone receives. Participants for this study came from either a drug treatment center or high school. There were 96 adolescents in all. Four chi-square tests and a paired sample t-test were used for the results. There was no significant relationship found for any of the chi-square tests. The first chi-square test found (chi-square(95) = 3.580, p = .311). The second chi-square test found (chi-square(95) = 3.167, p = .367). The third chi-square test found (chi-square(95) = 1.156, p = .282). The fourth chi-square test found (chi-square(95) = .055, p = .815). The paired sample t-test found a significant difference (t(95) = 4.806, p = .001). This study shows that the opinions of adolescents are primarily the same, even though some of the adolescents had already gotten into trouble for drug use. The only difference that was found was on the opinions of both groups of adolescents toward punishment for the scenario that had the boy using marijuana for an extended period of time.

INTRODUCTION
Drug use among adolescents and young adults has grown during the past 25 years (Newcomb, Maddahian, and Bentler, 1986). Although many surveys suggest that substance use has decreased over the years, most experts still agree that substance use is a problem (Botvin, 1986). Many adolescents have experimented with drugs, but problems arise when this experimentation becomes regular use. Botvin (1986) found that many adolescents start taking psychoactive substances (such as, minor tranquilizers, sedatives, and stimulants) each year, even though they have knowledge of the health, social, and legal consequences of the use. Usually the psychoactive substances that are used are stopped after a brief experimentation. However, the use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drug use may lead to psychological and physiological dependence. Psychological effects are mood changes, impaired judgment and motor function, decreased attention span, memory loss, and poor school performance. Physiological effects are cancer, cirrhosis, and AIDS (Johnson, Pentz, Weber, Dwyer, Baer, MacKinnon, and Hansen, 1990). Experimentation with any psychoactive substance most frequently leads to experimentation with other substances. Most start with tobacco or alcohol and slowly progress to marijuana. This progression can lead to harder drugs. Generally, the use of marijuana begins around the age of 13 and hits it peak at age 18 then drops between the ages of 19 and 20 (Kandel and Logan, 1984).Peer influence is a strong correlate between adolescents and drug use (Kandel, 1973). Adolescents marijuana use is strongly related to the involvement with other drug using adolescents. Kandel (1973) found that the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs were what friends had most in common. Besides age, sex, and race and the attitudes of the adolescents` no similarity between friends was as great as the similarity on illegal drug use. Kandel (1973) found that peers have a larger effect on drug use than parents do. Fifty six percent of adolescents that use marijuana use when their parents never used marijuana. Only 17 percent of adolescents that use marijuana when their parents have used, but their friends have never used marijuana. This shows that an adolescent will not become delinquent unless such delinquency exists within the peer environment around him or her. Newcomb, et al. (1986) found many risks factors for drug use. They are poor self-esteem, psychological distress, low religious beliefs and participation, poor relationship with parents, sensation seeking, early alcohol use, adult or parental drug use, deviance, and peer drug use. Prevention programs for drug use are designed to discourage drug use and to enhance self-esteem, responsible decision-making, and personal and social development. In addition, this type of program includes two or more of the following components: general problem-solving and decision-making skills, general cognitive skills for resisting interpersonal or media influences, skills for increasing self-control and self-esteem, adaptive coping skills for relieving stress and anxiety, general interpersonal skills, and general assertive skills. Evidence indicates that this kind of prevention produces great reductions in substance use (Botvin, 1986). Drug using adolescents become juveniles when they enter the legal system. Those who do get arrested do not receive much punishment, even though him or her is an active criminal. This is because their record has not caught up with them yet. Due to this, the juvenile does not feel unjustly treated, but feels contemptuous of the system that is supposed to enforce the law. This causes them to feel they can beat the system and gives it no respect (Boland and Wilson, 1978). Increases in juvenile violence can be attributed to many causes and drugs is one of them. The involvement in drug use and the distribution to others entails carrying a weapon for protection and intimidation. This is also a cause of the growing violence (Jenson and Howard, 1998). The federal government passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. This act placed juveniles in the least restrictive treatment setting, the establishment of community-based programs to replace institutions, and the diversion of adolescents from formal juvenile justice system processing. Decriminalization and deinstitutionalization was adopted by the states as policy encouraged rehabilitation and individualized treatment instead of punishment and incarceration (Jenson and Howard, 1998). Many facilities exist for juveniles if the court decides to place them under the custody of the state. These facilities include training schools, ranches and camps, halfway houses, and shelters (Levitt, 1998). The number of juveniles held in facilities increased from 17,623 in 1983 to 52,285 in 1995 (Smith, 1998). In 1994 and 1995 about 500 out of every 100,000 juveniles in the United States were arrested for some type of crime (Jenson and Howard, 1998). Levitt (1998) found that juvenile crime responds to harsh punishment. It is an effective way to reduce crime, but it is also very costly. In 1990, it cost roughly $33,000 in total spending per incarcerated juvenile in a public facility. Delinquency still remains a problem because the prevention programs do not target the underlying causes of the delinquent behavior such as poverty, unemployment, inadequate family support, and limited educational opportunities. Prevention programs and punishment may or may not change the adolescents` attitudes toward drug use. This study is going to focus on the opinions of adolescents in a drug treatment center and adolescents in high school toward the punishment for drug abuse.


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
The participants were adolescents from a drug treatment center and from high school. About 96 adolescents participated in this study.

MATERIALS
The materials include two vignettes and a pencil scale. Two short stories on each vignette were given with questions that follow each story (See Appendices).

PROCEDURE
The adolescents in the drug treatment center and the adolescents in high school were each given a vignette that tells two short stories. One of the vignettes included a different scenario. Each vignette was given to each participant. The first story, on one vignette, told of a boy who gets caught with marijuana. He is sent to a six-month drug treatment center. A question followed the story asking if the boy received a fair punishment. A second story was given about the same boy successfully completing the six-month program and getting caught with marijuana for a second time. A question followed this story asking what should happen to the boy this time. A few choices were provided for the participant to choose from. The first story on the second vignette told of a different boy who does marijuana every day and gets caught. The second story was exactly the same as the second story on the first vignette. For only the high school participants, consideration was made on the number of times each has used or never used marijuana and if each has ever been placed in a drug treatment center.


RESULTS
Four chi-square tests and a paired samples t-test were used on each story. The first chi-square test compared the adolescents in the drug treatment center and the adolescents in high school on their opinion toward punishment according to the first story in each vignette. There was no significant relationship found (chi-square(95) = 3.580, p = .311). The second chi-square test compared the same two groups of adolescents on their opinion toward punishment according to the second story in each vignette. There was no significant relationship found (chi-square(95) = 3.167, p = .367). The third chi-square test compared the same two groups of adolescents on their opinion toward fairness of the first story on each vignette. There was no significant relationship found (chi-square(95) = 1.156, p = .282). The fourth chi-square test compared the same two groups of adolescents on their opinion toward the fairness of the second story on each vignette. There was no significant relationship found (chi-square(95) = .055, p = .815). The paired samples t-test compared the fairness of both the stories on both vignettes. A significant difference was found (t(95) = 4.806, p = .001). This says that the opinions toward punishment were stronger for the second story on both vignettes than the opinions toward punishment for the first story.


DISCUSSION
This study demonstrates that adolescents in a drug treatment center do not have any different opinions toward drug punishment than do adolescents in high school. It was also found that their opinions do not differ according to the fairness of each story, either. A difference, however, did exist when the two stories in both vignettes were compared. Opinions were stronger toward the punishment for the second story compared to the opinions toward punishment for the first story. Some limitations in this study exist. One limitation would be the marijuana use that was used in the second scenario. Instead of saying the boy was using for a few months, it could have said he has used marijuana for years. This may have affected the outcome. Another would be providing all the choices. Maybe if a space was provided for them to write the punishment they felt was appropriate, the adolescents would show a greater difference within their opinion. The last limitation would be the lower crime rate for drug use among adolescents. Although it is rising, a society with a much higher crime rate for drug use would provide different results. In generality, I feel this study generalizes to some people in other situations, but not to all. People hold the views they have according to morals, religion, and many other things. If these vignettes were given to the Amish society their views toward punishment would be much greater. If these vignettes were given to people who live in a society where drugs are common among everyone their views toward punishment would be much less. For future directions of research consideration should be made on different areas of a society. Adolescents could still be studied, but the consideration would be on upper, middle, and lower classes of society. Also, a city that has a bigger crime rate for drug use among adolescents could be considered.


REFERENCES
Boland, B. & Wilson, J. (1978). Age, Crime, and Punishment. Public Interest, 51, 22-34. Botvin, G. (1986). Substance Abuse Prevention Research: Recent Developments and Future Directions. Journal of School Health, 56, 369-374. Jenson, J. & Matthew, H. (1998). Youth Crime, Public Policy, and Practice in the Juvenile Justice System: Recent Trends and Needed Reforms. Social Work, 43, 324-333. Johnson, C. & Pentz, M. & Weber, M. & Dwyer, J. & Baer, N. & MacKinnon, D. & Hansen, W. (1990). Relative Effectiveness of Comprehensive Community Programming for Drug Abuse Prevention with High-Risk and Low-Risk Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 447-456. Kandel, D. (1973). Adolescent Marijuana Use: Role of Parents and Peers. Science, 181, 1067-1070. Kandel, D. & Logan, J. (1984). Patterns of Drug Use from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Periods of Risk for Initiation, Continued Use, and Discontinuation. American Journal of Public Health, 74, 660-666. Levitt, S. (1998). Juvenile Crime and Punishment. Journal of Political Economy, 106, 1156-1182. Newcomb, M. & Maddahian, E. & Bentler, P.M. (1986). Risk Factors for Drug Use among Adolescents: Concurrent and Longitudinal Analyses. American Journal of Public Health, 76, 525-531. Smith, B. (1998). Children in Custody: 20-Year Trends in Juvenile Detention, Correctional, and Shelter Facilities. Crime & Delinquency, 44, 526-543.


APPENDIX A
Please do not put your name on this. This is completely confidential, so please be honest.

John, who is 17, decided to have some friends over for the weekend. They were having a good time until one of his friends wanted to smoke some marijuana. John was not so sure, but he thought that trying it would not hurt. After the marijuana was all gone and his friends had left, there was a knock on John`s door. A police officer was investigating a crime and only wanted to ask a few questions. The police officer smelled the marijuana instead and took John to Juvenile Detention. He was then placed in an outpatient drug treatment center for six months.Do you feel John received an appropriate punishment? Yes NoJohn successfully completed the six-month program at the drug treatment center. He was very excited and wanted to celebrate, but he did not want to do anything that would get him in trouble. He decided that he and some of his friends would go out to eat and see a movie. In the car, one of his friends took out some marijuana and started to smoke it. John chose to join them. They ended up being pulled over by a police officer because John`s friend driving too slow.What should happen to John now? Go back to the treatment center Go to an inpatient treatment center Be put on probation for one or more years Go to prison

Please check the phrase that applies to you: I have never used marijuana. I have used once or twice. I have used two or more times.

Have you ever been to a treatment center for marijuana use? Yes No


APPENDIX B
Please do not put your name on this. This is completely confidential, so please be honest. Tom, who is 17, wanted to smoke some marijuana. He has smoked it now for a few months. He got caught by a police officer, taken to Juvenile Detention, and was sent to a six-month outpatient drug treatment center.Do you feel Tom received an appropriate punishment? Yes No Tom successfully completed the six-month program at the drug treatment center. He was very excited and wanted to celebrate, but he did not want to do anything that would get him in trouble. He decided that he and some friends would go out to eat and see a movie. In the car, one of his friends took out some marijuana and started to smoke it. Tom chose to join them. They ended up being pulled over by a police officer because Tom`s friend was driving too slow.What should happen to Tom now? Go back to the treatment center Go to an inpatient treatment center Be put on probation for one or more years Go to prison

Please check the phrase that applies to you: I have never used marijuana. I have used once or twice I have used two or more times.

Have you ever been to a treatment center for marijuana use? Yes No


APPENDIX C
Please do not put your name on this. This is completely confidential, so please be honest.

John, who is 17, decided to have some friends over for the weekend. They were having a good time until one of his friends wanted to smoke some marijuana. John was not so sure, but he thought that trying it would not hurt. After the marijuana was all gone and his friends had left, there was a knock on John`s door. A police officer was investigating a crime and only wanted to ask a few questions. The police officer smelled the marijuana instead and took John to Juvenile Detention. He was then placed in an outpatient drug treatment center for six months.Do you feel John received an appropriate punishment? Yes NoJohn successfully completed the six-month program at the drug treatment center. He was very excited and wanted to celebrate, but he did not want to do anything that would get him in trouble. He decided that he and some of his friends would go out to eat and see a movie. In the car, one of his friends took out some marijuana and started to smoke it. John chose to join them. They ended up being pulled over by a police officer because John`s friend driving too slow.What should happen to John now? Go back to the treatment center Go to an inpatient treatment center Be put on probation for one or more years Go to prison


APPENDIX D
Please do not put your name on this. This is completely confidential, so please be honest. Tom, who is 17, wanted to smoke some marijuana. He has smoked it now for a few months. He got caught by a police officer, taken to Juvenile Detention, and was sent to a six-month outpatient drug treatment center.Do you feel Tom received an appropriate punishment? Yes No Tom successfully completed the six-month program at the drug treatment center. He was very excited and wanted to celebrate, but he did not want to do anything that would get him in trouble. He decided that he and some friends would go out to eat and see a movie. In the car, one of his friends took out some marijuana and started to smoke it. Tom chose to join them. They ended up being pulled over by a police officer because Tom`s friend was driving too slow.What should happen to Tom now? Go back to the treatment center Go to an inpatient treatment center Be put on probation for one or more years Go to prison

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