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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229081 Find in a Library
Title: Reasons for Drug Use Among American Youth by Consumption Level, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity: 1976-2005
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:39  Issue:3  Dated:Summer 2009  Pages:677-714
Author(s): Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath; Patrick M. O'Malley; Lloyd D. Johnston
Date Published: 2009
Page Count: 38
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Grant Number: DA01411
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study identified self-reported reasons for American youth to use nine substances, based on reports of representative samples of U.S. high school seniors who participated in the Monitoring the Future study from 1976 through 2005.
Abstract: Social/recreational rewards ("to get high," "to have a good time," and "to experiment" with drug effects) were most often cited as reasons for using most drugs; however, the reasons most often given for using psychotherapeutic drugs pertained to coping with negative emotions and physical needs. Significant differences in reported reasons for using drugs were found between boys and girls; boys were more likely to report social/recreational and drug-effect reasons for using substances; whereas, girls were more likely to report using drugs to cope with negative emotions and physical needs. Significant differences by race/ethnicity were also found; White drug users were somewhat more likely to report social/recreational reasons for drug use, and minority racial/ethnic youth were more likely to report addictive reasons for using specific substances. Findings suggest that prevention strategies should focus on nondrug alternatives for having a good time and/or feeling good. Research on the effects of anti-tobacco messages indicate that the most powerful prevention messages may be those that accurately and directly address the harms associated with the use of specific substances. The promotion of constructive strategies for coping with negative emotions and physical needs could also divert youth from relying on drugs to address these needs. The obtained total weighted sample size used in the current analyses was 75,515 12th graders. All of these youth answered survey questions about their reasons for using drugs. The drugs cited in the questioning were alcohol, barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics other than heroin, amphetamines, and cocaine. 13 tables, 12 figures, and 46 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile drug use
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Comparative analysis; Drug abuse causes; Drug effects; Ethnic groups; Gender issues; Race; Self-report studies
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