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NCJ Number: 200874 Find in a Library
Title: Young People's Experience of Illegal Drug Use in the Family
Journal: Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy  Volume:10  Issue:2  Dated:May 2003  Pages:169-184
Author(s): Neil McKeganey; James McIntosh; Fiona MacDonald
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper examines young people’s awareness of, and reactions to, illegal drug use within their family.
Abstract: Previous research has focused attention on the family as either decreasing or increasing a young person’s risk of developing a drug addiction. Protective factors against drug abuse include a close relationship with the mother, while marital discord and low supervision of children contribute to a greater risk of youth becoming involved with drugs. Research has thus far failed to question the possible impact on young people of illegal drug use by a family member. Quantitative and qualitative methods were combined. The quantitative component consisted of a survey of 2,382 students 10- to 12-years-old in 47 primary, secondary, and middle schools throughout Glasgow and Newcastle. The qualitative aspect involved semi-structured interviews with 216 of the youths who had participated in the survey. Results of the quantitative analysis revealed that 13.8 percent of the surveyed youth reported having a family member who had used or was using an illegal drug. These youths were five times more likely than youths who did not have a family member using drugs to try illegal drugs themselves. Results of the interviews suggested that 43.9 percent of the 216 youths had a family member who had used or was using an illegal drug. The illegal drug use in their families had a wide array of impacts on the youths, including concerns for the health of the drug user and the emotional stability of the family as a whole. The authors then considered an array of supportive initiatives that may help children exposed to familial drug use, including greater teacher and community support. Future concerns should also focus on how to encourage children to ask for help about such a personal and secretive issue. References
Main Term(s): Drug abuse
Index Term(s): Children of drug abusers; Parental influence; Sibling influences on behavior; United Kingdom (UK); Youth (Under 15)
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