July 1973

Nonmedical Drug Use Among Medical Students

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Dr. Gallagher is currently at the Bronx Municipal Hospital; Dr. Lapid at the Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif; Dr. Rubin at the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, Conn; and Dr. Good at the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic, Oakland, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(1):48-50. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200010029005

This paper reports on surveys of illicit drug usage by medical students during 1970 and 1972. A high rate of response from each of the four classes in both years revealed a large increase in the number of students who used cannabis between 1970 and 1972. Despite this greater occurrence of use, there was a marked decline in the current frequency of use among the two classes studied in both years, evidently due to loss of interest in taking the drug.

Over the two years there was also a decrease in the number of students favoring legalization of marihuana. In both studies relatively few students had ever taken LSD, mescaline, amphetamines, and barbiturates, and here too interest decreased by 1972. These findings suggest that a wave of cannabis use passed through the medical school irrespective of the age of the student and has now subsided.