Illicit drug use in a community-based sample of heterosexually identified emerging adults

Perry N. Halkitis, Ashley N. Manasse, Karen C. McCready

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we assess lifetime and recent drug use patterns among 261 heterosexually identified 18- to 25-year-olds through brief street intercept surveys conducted in New York City. Marijuana, hallucinogens, powder cocaine, and ecstasy were the most frequently reported drugs for both lifetime and recent use. Findings further suggest significant differences in lifetime use along the lines of gender, race=ethnicity, and school enrollment for various drugs. Males reported using significantly greater numbers of different drugs compared to females, as did those not enrolled in school compared to school enrollees. These data suggest that illicit drug use in emergent adulthood does not develop in a monolithic manner and synergies must be considered in relation to gender, school enrollment, and employment that first surface in the child and adolescent developmental stages. In addition, primary prevention efforts targeting child and adolescent drug use may mitigate the emerging adult and lifetime substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-308
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Emergent adulthood
  • Heterosexual
  • Illicit drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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