Abstract Laos in the period 1965-1975 provided an opportunity to study sex differences in drug and alcohol use, as influenced by ethnicity. Several psychoactive substances were locally consumed, including opium, heroin, alcohol, tobacco, betel-areca, and cannabis, Much diversity occurred among the various ethnic groups with regard to male-female use of drugs and alcohol. Trends in these use patterns suggested the existence of certain principles which govern the male-female dimension of drug use. Social changes going on in the society were reflected in choice of substance forms by younger people as compared to their elders (e.g., cigarettes vs pipes or cigars, heroin vs opium, manufactured vs village-produced alcohol). Ecological factors, which contributed to drug availability, also were powerful in determining type of drugs and patterns of use.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
During the period 1965-1975,t he author spent a total of 3 years in Laos. The first 2 years were spent as a volunteer civilian physician in the Public Health Division of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Four annual mental health consultations, 2 months each year, from 1971 to 1974, were made to the Ministry of Public Health, with speciai focus on drug dependence. Two field research studies were done, one in 1971 and one in 1975, funded by the Ford Foundation and supported by the International Programs at the University of Minnesota.
This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (grant no. R01 DA 01599), the Minnesota Medical Foundation, and the International Program Office at the University of Minnesota.