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Fri Jul 27, 2012, 02:16 PM

Studies of Substance Abuse with Interventions for the Youth of Native American Indian Communities #5

Theoretical Framework

Large-scale national surveys provide comprehensive epidemiological data on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use trends among youth. However, because of small sample sizes, they often do not include analyses of substance use patterns for American Indians. Fortunately, though, much is known about trends in Indian adolescent drug use because of research from three main sources.

The first is school-based surveys conducted by the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research at Colorado State University. For more than 25 years, these anonymous surveys have been administered annually to a nationally representative sample of 7th through 12th graders living on or near reservations. Each year more than 2,000 youth respond to questions about their drug use, risk and protective factors, violence, and victimization.

The second source of information comes from an examination of data from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) project, which has been in existence since 1975. Almost 45,000 youth and young adults from more than 400 schools across the country annually complete a survey about their substance use and related attitudes and beliefs. Wallace et al. (2002) analyzed data collected between 1996 and 2000 from approximately 64,000 high school seniors, thus sufficiently increasing the sample size of Native Americans to perform analyses of substance use trends.

The last source includes reports that combine multiple years of data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationís (SAMHSA) National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA; www.drugabusestatistics.samhsa.gov)

The NHSDA is designed to provide drug use estimates for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia over a 5-year sampling period. Every year the NHSDA is administered as an in-person interview to more than 68,000 people who are representative of the civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. population age 12 or older.

Using these three national databases, plus supplementary research where available, prevalence data are reviewed for the substances most commonly used by American Indian and Alaskan Native youth across the country, namely: tobacco, inhalants, alcohol, and marijuana.

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