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*The ever-used and addiction percentages are those of the general population. The risk of addiction is specific to the drug indicated and refers to the percentage who met criteria for addiction among those who reported having used the agent at least once.

*The ever-used and addiction percentages are those of the general population. The risk of addiction is specific to the drug indicated and refers to the percentage who met criteria for addiction among those who reported having used the agent at least once.

Host (User) Variables In general, effects of drugs vary among individuals. Even blood levels can show wide variation when the same dose of a drug on a milligram per kilogram basis is given to different people. Polymorphism of genes that encode enzymes involved in absorption, metabolism, and excretion and in receptor-mediated responses may contribute to the different degrees of reinforcement or euphoria observed among individuals (see Chapters 3 and 4).

Environmental Variables Initiating and continuing illegal drug use appear to be influenced significantly by societal norms and peer pressure. Taking drugs may be seen initially as a form of rebellion against authority. In some communities, drug users and drug dealers are role models who seem to be successful and respected; thus, young people emulate them. There also may be a paucity of other options for pleasure, diversion, or income. These factors are particularly important in communities where educational levels are low and job opportunities scarce.

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