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Substance Use in Urban and Rural Texas School Districts

NCJ Number
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2006 Pages: 327-339
Jane Carlisle Maxwell; Melissa Tackett-Gibson; James Dyer
Date Published
August 2006
13 pages
This study analyzed and compared substance use between urban and rural secondary school districts in Texas between 1998 and 2003.
Results of the Texas study suggest that rural areas are not devoid of substance use problems. Youths in rural areas are engaging in dangerous substance use behaviors and, in some cases, doing so at a greater degree than their urban counterparts. The lifetime use of many substances in rural areas exceeded or caught up with those of youths in urban areas. Adolescents in rural areas also reported more dangerous patterns of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related behaviors. The trend in rural use may be due to the fact that the percentage of rural schools providing drug education has decreased to levels similar to urban schools. Research assumes that the prevalence of substance use in urban areas surpasses that of rural areas and that youth in rural cities and towns are sheltered from the availability of drugs, as well as the dangers associated with use. However, in recent years, the differences in prevalence rates between rural and urban areas have been decreasing. The goal of this study was to report on areas of difference between urban and rural secondary school students in Texas in terms of substance use rates, their perceptions of the dangerousness of these substances, the behaviors associated with use, and their access to drug information at school. Data for the study were gathered from surveys conducted between 1998 and 2003. Tables, references