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Beliefs about Drugs and Use Among Early Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: (Spring 1991) Pages: 26-35
H Berdiansky
Date Published
10 pages
This study corroborates the notion that beliefs about the dangers and health risks of specific substances correspond to lower usage rates for the specific drugs.
A total of 3,502 students in grades 6-8 and living in or around Raleigh were surveyed during the fall of 1985 and 1986. Baseline data was collected for a NIDA-funded prevention project to see the effectiveness of drug education programs that emphasis the dangers of drugs and alcohol to children just beginning experimentation with tobacco and alcohol. The study results suggest that many of the kinds of information traditionally taught to early adolescents do not correlate with the kinds of behaviors that prevention programs strive to encourage, namely, abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Adolescents who believed that alcohol or marijuana is the most dangerous drug, used these substances less often than those believing LSD, cocaine, crack, or PCP to be the most dangerous. The study implies that teaching the lethal effects of hard drugs to youth may, by implication, deemphasize the dangers to which adolescents are most vulnerable and which most drug programs for adolescents are seeking to prevent or delay. 7 tables and 9 references.