Handbook of Psychological Services for Children and Adolescents

By Jan N. Hughes; Annette M. La Greca et al. | Go to book overview

7
Preventing Alcohol and
Substance Abuse
TIMOTHY A. CAVELL
SUSAN T. ENNETT
BARBARA T. MEEHAN

The use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) remains a significant problem among the youth in our society. Although substance use among adolescents has declined since the 1970s, prevalence rates remain high based on findings from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, an annual survey of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students in the United States (Johnston, O'Malley, & Bachman, 1996). MTF data from 1995 revealed lifetime prevalence rates for adolescent alcohol use of 54.5% for 8th-grade students and 80.7% for high school seniors. Alcohol misuse was also high, as indicated by the fact that 20.8% of 10th-graders and 33.2% of 12th-graders reported being drunk during the preceding 30 days. Prevalence rates for lifetime marijuana use were 19.9% and 41.7% for 8th- and 12th-graders, respectively (Johnston et al., 1996).

Aside from the risk of developing substance abuse or substance dependence disorders, adolescents who are involved with ATOD also carry a greater risk for other negative outcomes (Hawkins, Kosterman, Maguin, Catalano, & Arthur, 1997). Maladaptive sequelae associated with substance abuse include motor vehicle accidents (Perrine, Peck, & Fell, 1988), suicide (Berman & Schwartz, 1990), HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies (Leigh & Stall, 1990), interpersonal violence (Fagan & Browne, 1994), criminal behavior (Miczek et al., 1994), diminished academic performance, school dropout (Newcomb, Maddahian, & Bentler, 1986), and occupational difficulties (Newcomb & Bentler, 1988).

When one considers both the level of ATOD use and the harm associated with use, the importance of early identification and prevention becomes clear. In this chapter, we describe several prevention programs that have undergone empirical

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