Why say no? Reasons given by young people for not using drugs

J Fountain*, H Bartlett, P Griffiths, M Gossop, A Boys, J Strang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods has been employed in this study in order to assess the impact of a variety of factors on young people's drug-using behaviour. The focus is on the responses to an enquiry with respondents who had never used heroin, methadone, other opiates, cocaine powder, crack cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD, cannabis, and solvents who were asked for their reasons for this non-use. The data were also analysed to ascertain whether reasons for non-use varied according to age, what respondents thought the effects of the drugs they had never used would be, and how likely they thought it was that they would use them in the year following the interview. No single reason was given by the majority of respondents for the non-use of drugs, but the motive most frequently reported - particularly by older respondents - was a lack of interest in the effects. Younger respondents' reasons for non-use were, overall, related to a fear of drugs and their effects. Most non-users of each substance were convinced they would continue to abstain, even though they perceived the effects of some drugs (particularly ecstasy) to be pleasurable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-353
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • young people
  • non-use
  • combination methodology


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