This study predicted Grade 12 use of illicit drugs other than marijuana ("hard" drugs) from characteristics at Grade 10, examining the protective value of social bonds and testing whether certain social bonds have greater importance for some racial/ethnic groups. The study also explored the association of previous substance use with later "hard" drug use when social bonds and a broad range of other personal and environmental variables are statistically controlled. Family bonds and prior use were related to use. However, variables other than social bonds and prior use were equal or stronger predictors of both outcomes. Some differences were obtained across racial groups: African-Americans were less likely to use illicit drugs other than marijuana; Mexican-Americans were more affected by family factors than were other groups; and Asian-Americans were more affected by school failure. Implications for prevention are discussed.