Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

The Influence of Group Membership on Multiple Substance Use

Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

The Influence of Group Membership on Multiple Substance Use

Article excerpt

Abstract

In the United States, more than half of the 2 million deaths each year are due to personal health behaviors. Such conduct includes tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor diet, alcohol and other drug use, violence, and risky sexual practices. Much of the research on reducing the likelihood of substance initiation has focused on single substance use and athletic participation. This study assessed the influence of group membership on the use of multiple substances among adolescents. Organized group activity included clubs and organizations, as well as athletic participation. Multiple substance included current use of any combination of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana. Group participation had a buffering effect on multiple substance use suggesting that membership may be more important than physical activity.

Introduction

In the United States, more than half of the 2 million deaths each year are due to personal health behaviors. Such behaviors include tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption and other drug use, violence, and risky sexual practices (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 1999a). Healthy People 2000 & 2010 also recognized the importance of these behaviors by identifying each one as a separate priority area (United States Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 1992, 2000). These behaviors predispose individuals to chronic disease that lead to significant morbidity and mortality. For example, tobacco-related deaths such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the leading causes of death in the United States (CDC, 1997a).

National and state data confirm that Healthy People 2000 (CDC, 1997b, 1998a, 1998b) goals were not met with regard to adolescent substance use. Additionally, prevalence studies have shown that adolescents are currently using alcohol as well as marijuana and cigarettes at high levels and at earlier ages (CDC, 1999a, 1999b; DHHS, 1996, 1999). Use of these drugs is of particular concern considering the extensive evidence documenting the adverse effects of alcohol, cigarette smoking, and marijuana use on adolescent health and society. Examples include crime, suicide, homicide, rape, unintended pregnancies, emergency room utilizations, traffic fatalities and other accidents. Researchers have been exploring factors that reduce the likelihood of substance initiation. However, the primary focus of current research and national databases only target single substance use.

Historically, multiple substance use research has focussed on illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana (Dodson, Alexander, Wright, & Wunderlich, 1971; Simpson & Sells, 1974). More recent investigations have addressed the simultaneous use of alcohol and cigarettes, but violence and abuse were their main themes (Harrison, Fulkerson, & Beebe, 1997; Martin, Clark, Lynch, Jupper, & Cilenti, 1999). These studies have found that victims of both physical and sexual violence were more likely to be multiple substance users than those individuals not victimized (Harrison et al., 1997; Martin et al., 1999)

Other researchers have focused on the combination of substances and reported an association between multiple substance use and illicit drug use (Bailey, 1992; Everett, Giovino, Warren, Crossett, & Kann, 1998). Results suggest that heavy users of alcohol and cigarettes were more likely to use illicit drugs and that the best predictor of multiple substance use was the frequency of single substance use (Bailey, 1992). Additionally, among adolescent tobacco users, dual users of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco had the highest rates for lifetime cocaine use, current alcohol use, lifetime use of other illicit substances, and current binge drinking (Everett et al., 1998).

The high rates of substance use and early initiation continue to focus drug prevention programs toward approaches that incorporate the use of predictive health behavior theories and the incorporation of protective factors. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.