Intended for healthcare professionals


Drug use and weapon carrying by young people

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 12 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:449

Study did not go far enough

  1. John Macleod, clinical research fellow (,
  2. Rhian Loudon, clinical research fellow,
  3. Matthew Hickman, principal research fellow,
  4. Ali Judd, research associate
  1. Health Inequalities Research Group, Department of Primary Care and General Practice, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT
  2. Centre For Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, Department of Social Science and Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, London SW6 1RQ
  3. 5 Laird's Inn Court, Dunkeld, Perthshire PH8 0AR

    EDITOR—Use of illegal drugs by young people seems to be increasing, and a rational and effective response must be guided by sound science. McKeganey and Norrie's paper on the association between use of illegal drugs and weapon carrying by young people in Scotland is based on three surveys in 20 Scottish schools.1 How these schools were selected and how representative they and the students surveyed are of schools and students in Scotland generally are not reported.

    The paper describes an association between use of illegal drugs and weapon carrying, both measured by self report with an instrument developed by the study team. No details are given to allow assessment of the validity or reliability of this instrument. Use of illegal drugs is undefined but seems to relate to the number of different illegal substances ever used. Weapon carrying was defined in terms of lifetime, rather than recent, carriage. Thus these data could suggest that weapon carrying is high among students now, or that many students …

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