This longitudinal study examined antecedents of substance use behavior among 176 (53% male) adolescents. Adolescents were classified as (a) abstainers (n = 19), (b) experimenters (n = 65), (c) at-risk youth (n = 63), and (d) abusers (n = 29) based on their reported substance use behavior at age 17.5. Parental behavior, peer competence, and problem behavior, measured from early childhood through age 16, were examined as predictors of substance use patterns. Multinomial logistic regression models revealed that early maternal hostility, externalizing behavior problems in first grade and at age 16, internalizing behavior in first grade and at age 16, and parental monitoring at age 16 significantly differentiated substance use groups. The study provides evidence that experiences occurring early in development, in addition to those that occur later in development, can play a pivotal role in setting the stage for late adolescent substance use behavior.