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Consequences of Drug and Alcohol Use for Indian Youth

NCJ Number
American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: 1992 Pages: 32-37
Fred Beauvais Ph.D.
Date Published
This study identified the problems directly linked to drug and alcohol use among Indian youth compared to Anglo youth.
Compared to Anglo youth, Indian youth had higher rates of using alcohol and drugs in ways that increased their risk for serious associated consequences. This included getting very drunk, driving while intoxicated, and using drugs and alcohol together. The highest rate of alcohol and drug use was found among reservation Indian youth, with a lower rate found among nonreservation Indian youth. Among the three groups, Anglo youth had the lowest rate of alcohol and drug use. The frequency of self-reported consequences from alcohol and drug use reflected these comparative rates of use. Fifteen percent of reservation Indian high school seniors had been involved in an alcohol-related accident; however, the most frequent adverse consequences of alcohol and drug abuse among Indian youth involved relationship problems. These included conflicts and fights with parents, conflicts with peers, and the erosion of friendships. Other adverse consequence from drug and alcohol use included getting arrested, money problems, school maladjustment, and property damage. The samples consisted of three groups of students, all of whom were surveyed in 1988-90. All three groups were administered the American Drug and Alcohol Survey under similar classroom conditions. The reservation Indian sample consisted of the 7th-12th grade students who live on reservations. The Anglo and nonreservation Indian groups were part of a separate survey project conducted in junior and senior high schools across the United States. 3 tables and 1 reference