Substance use among African American adolescents in the midwest

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Lewis, Rhonda K.
Lee, Felecia A.
Kirk, Chris Michael
Redmond, Michelle L.

Journal of prevention & intervention in the community. 2011 Oct; 39(4): 289-98.


The purpose of this article is to examine the attitudes and substance use behaviors of African American adolescents living in the Midwest. A baseline survey was administered to 463 African American teens between the ages of 11-19. The article examines the relationship between attitudes toward drugs and drug-using behavior in this African American sample. Drug use will be compared to national drug use norms established by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. Overall participants had fairly negative attitudes toward drugs. Sixty percent of the sample reported that they were committed to a drug-free life, 74% had made a decision to stay away from marijuana, 79% reported making a decision not to smoke cigarettes, and 71% reported they would not get drunk in the next year. Females were more likely to stay away from marijuana than males. In this current study there is cause for alarm; participants reported higher percentages of ever smoking cigarettes and marijuana than the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. This study shows there is a need to provide substance abuse prevention programs for African American adolescents. Limitations and future directions are also discussed.

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