Seethalakshmi Ramanathan, M.B.B.S., D.P.M., of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, and colleagues examined the relationship between economic environment and the potential for drug abuse and delinquent behavior during adolescence in an article in the December 31, 2012, issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
“According to the study results, exposure to a 1 percent deviation from mean regional unemployment rates at the age of 1 year was associated with an increase in the odds ratios of engaging in marijuana use (1.09), smoking (1.07), alcohol use (1.06), arrest (1.17), gang affiliation (1.09), and petty (1.06) and major theft (1.11). No significant associations were noted with the use of hard drugs and assaultive behavior, the results indicate.”
The research was based on the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, which included a group of 8,984 adolescents born from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1984. The 1981 to 1982 recession and rates of subsequent adolescent substance use and delinquent behaviors were examined.
While the past does not always predict the future one might expect higher rates of drug abuse in adolescents in Birmingham and Alabama to result from the recent recession and what proposes to be another recession due to lack of action on the fiscal cliff issue by the Federal Government.
In 2011 the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration presented statistics that demonstrated a substantial dip in drug use among teens in virtually every substance category. The use of amphetamines increased among high school seniors to a level of 8.2 percent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Among high school students, OxyContin use for nonmedical purposes neither rose nor fell.
The research was reviewed at the Eureka Alert website the date of publication.