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Hartmann, D. (1969). A Study of Drug-Taking Adolescents. Psychoanal. St. Child, 24:384-398.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 24:384-398

A Study of Drug-Taking Adolescents

Dora Hartmann, M.D.

The drug problem is currently approached from many different angles. Not one month goes by without new publications dealing with the increased use of drugs, especially among young people, appearing in the psychiatric journals. The authors of these recent papers look at various aspects of the drug problem, such as: general characteristics of drug users, motivation, self-image, mood, object relations, reality testing, academic performance, social responsibility, psychological dependency; psychotic reactions; relation to homosexuality and crime; relation of LSD and marihuana to heroin addiction (Hekimian and Gershon, 1968); (Blacker et al., 1968); (Keeler, 1968); (McGlothlin and West, 1965); (Konner, 1968); (Weil, Zinberg, and Nelson, 1968); (W. A. Frosch, 1968); (Munter, 1968).

Undoubtedly there is a cultural-sociological aspect to the fact that today so many young people, mainly between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, experiment with various drugs. Less rigidity or even a lack of restrictions and setting of standards on the part of the parents, the greater importance of group formation among the young ones (H. Deutsch, 1967), more freedom in expressing, in publicizing and advertising the satisfaction of impulses which were not even to be mentioned openly thirty years ago—all of these factors are thought to be, in part at least, responsible for drug-taking as a kind of "fashion." The general increase in acting out among adolescents might be attributed to the same reasons. I want to mention here, for example, the greatly increased number of pregnancies and abortions among very young girls which we have seen during the last ten years.

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