238968 Illicit Drug Use from Adolescence to Young Adulthood among Child Welfare-Involved Youth

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cecilia Casanueva, PhD , Children and Families Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Leyla Stambaugh, PhD , Children and Families, RTI International, Raleigh, NC
Matthew Urato, MS , Sphere, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Jenifer Goldman Fraser, PhD , Children and Families, RTI International, Raleigh, NC
Jason Williams, PhD , Behavioral Health Research Division, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
This study examined illicit substance use among 1,004 adolescents age 11-15, involved with the Child Welfare System (CWS) and followed from 1999 to 2007 as part of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). NSCAW is a nationally representative, longitudinal study of the well-being of children aged 15 or younger who have had contact with the CWS. Time points were baseline/investigation, 12 months, 18 months, 3 years, and 5-7 years. In addition to cross-sectional exploration of rates of illicit substance use across adolescence, trajectories of substance use and predictors of these trajectories were examined using longitudinal growth models (LGM). Rates of 30-day illicit drug use were 13.1% at baseline, 18.1% at 18 months, and 20.6% at 36 months. Older adolescents at each wave were more likely to use illicit drugs than younger adolescents. At Wave 5, more than a quarter of young adults (26.3%) had used marijuana, 25.4% used hard drugs (cocaine, LSD, heroin, club drugs), and 12.8% used a prescription medication for recreational purposes. Overall, by wave 5, 62.5% of youth had used an illicit drug. Five trajectory groups were observed: Experimental users (31.1%); Regular users (15.3%); New users (10.9%); and Substance Dependent (5.3%). Predictors of regular use during adolescence were: having a prior CWS report, externalizing behavior problems, delinquency, and any sexual experience. Exposure to physical abuse was predictive of escalating substance use trajectories. Protective factors included having a child at any point during the study, parental monitoring, and being placed in kinship care.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
- Describe levels of illicit substance use among adolescents in the child welfare system (CWS) based on nationally representative data collected from 1999 to 2007. - Identify prevalence estimates for a variety of illicit substance use (marihuana, inhalants, hard drugs, prescriptions) among adolescents reported for maltreatment to child protective services. - Compare use of illicit substances among adolescents in foster care, kin care, and those who remain at home with their original caregivers. - Examine specific risk and protective factors associated with trajectories of illicit substance use among adolescents in the child welfare system.

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have presented before at APHA and multiple other conferences on issues related to research on child maltreatment. My work at RTI is as one the lead analysts for NSCAW, I have worked with the NSCAW data set doing analysis since 2003.
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.