Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Availability & norms are strong predictors of youth marijuana use

Lately, I've been engaging in discussions about what youth substance use prevention is and what it is not.  The field changed significantly over the past twenty years as research about healthy youth development increased.

To start with, a great deal of youth substance use prevention is based at the local level and starts with communities assessing their risk factors that contribute to teen drug use.  During a recent symposium at the University of Washington, researchers from the Social Development Research Group in the School of Social Work provided an overview of risk and protective factors specific to underage marijuana use.  

This first slide from the presentation explains that risk factors may be present in multiple domains: the community, the family, schools, and among individuals and their peers.  Within the community domain, "availability of drugs" and "community laws and norms favorable toward drug use" are identified as risk factors for youth marijuana use.

In this second slide, protective factors are identified.  Community factors that contribute to the prevention of underage marijuana use include "clear and healthy standards for behavior" and "pro-social opportunities".  

During the symposium, researchers focused on risk factors that are the strongest predictors of youth marijuana use.  They include availability of marijuana, perception of risk from using marijuana, and pro-marijuana norms among parents, youth, and in the community.

All of the slides may be viewed by clicking here.  A video of the presentation is available on the symposium website.

No comments: