Measuring Novel Drug Perceptions: Salvia divinorum, Gender, and Peer Delinquency.

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Researchers commonly use a person's perception of the drug use of friends to determine the impact that peers exert on one's own behavior. Recently, there has been concern over this measure's validity. Novel drugs, which are either newly discovered drugs or existing substances only recently used for recreational purposes, may be used so infrequently that people have too few observable opportunities to accurately develop perceptions of their peer's use. Employing survey data collected in 2009 from 2,154 individuals within friendship pairs in the Southeast United States, we explore how gender affects perceptions of the infrequently used, novel drug Salvia divinorum. The study's limitations are noted.