• drug abuse;
  • initiation;
  • social psychiatry

At the Stockholm Police Arrest Centre, 156 intravenous drug abusers (103 men, 53 women) were interviewed during the first part of 1987. A structured questionnaire was used in order to survey the initiation process into drug abuse, focusing on the differences and similarities between men and women. Of the men, 80 (78%) had been introduced to illegal drugs by a man and only 14 (14%) by a woman. Of the women, 39 (74%) had been introduced by a man and only 11 (21%) by a woman. The majority of both the men (62%) and the women (51%) were introduced by a close friend. Most of the introductions took place in a secure environment, at the home of either the novice, a friend or the introducer.