211293 Using an Epidemiological Criminology Framework to Advance Evidence-Based Public Health Policy: The Case of Adolescent Substance Abuse

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Jonathan B. VanGeest, PhD , Department of Health Policy and Management, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Adolescent substance abuse remains a pressing public health and criminal justice policy concerns nationally. While alcohol remains the most widely used substance among America's youth, misuse of illicit and prescription drugs continues to be a concern. Underage substance use is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in adolescents and young adults. Underage substance abuse also plays a role in risky sexual behavior, physical and sexual assault, injury, academic failure, and suicide. The societal costs of underage drinking are estimated to be over $60 billion annually. National health policy often focuses on the myriad of factors associated with onset and abuse among adolescents in efforts to develop strategies to prevent underage substance abuse. However, when examining the impact of national health policy in relation to criminal justice policy, we rarely see open dialogue discussing their relationship. The sciences of epidemiology and criminology share common theories that take into account the “epidemiology of substance abuse” so important to effective interventions in this population. These can include, but not be limited to, race, gender, and age, stress, parental engagement, and environmental factors that may have precipitated access to alcohol and other drugs. While many of these factors are controlled for across multiple analytical models, results are seldom analyzed from an epidemiological criminology perspective. This presentation will focus on using the Epidemiological Criminology framework to advance holistic health policy addressing adolescent substance abuse.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: 1. To increase the awareness of the relationship between public health policy and criminal justice policy related to adolescent substance abuse. 2. To identify epidemiological factors that directly relate to adolescent substance abuse from an epidemiological criminology perspective. 3. To use the epidemiological epidemiology framework to advance an evidence-based policy response.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The panelist has served on national panels previously in similar areas. He has published extensively in the areas of aberrant behavior and policy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.