Race by age crossover effect: Substance use among mid life and older African americans
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 8:42 a.m. - 8:54 a.m.
Drug use remains a critical national problem that adversely impacts the healthcare, mental health, and criminal justice systems. As substance users move into middle age, age-related health concerns and psychosocial factors can complicate substance use. While African Americans (AA) have a lower rate of substance use in adolescence compared to whites, their rates of use increase with age and surpass those of whites who experience a substantial decline. In addition, we know that life course consequences of substance use differ for AA compared to whites and these differences are related to substantial social and health inequities. The present study sought to examine differences in recent drug use patterns including (1) drugs of choice and (2) frequency of use for 21 different substances by various routes of transmission (nasal, injection, inhaled and swallowed) between younger and older cohorts of AA's. As expected we found a high prevalence of 27% or greater for marijuana, crack, and nasal heroin in both age cohorts. However, those in the older cohort were 2 times (OR=2.07, 95% CI 1.25-3.43, p<.01) more likely to have smoked crack in the last 6 months and half as likely (OR=.48, 95% CI .28-.80, p<.01) to have smoked marijuana. These findings support the race by age crossover theory whereby AA's use less risky drugs at younger ages but use escalates to higher risk drugs by mid and later life. Research is needed to map common and distinctive courses and consequences of long term drug use in this population.
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Explain the race by age crossover effect in substance use
Describe difference between younger and older African American recent drug use patterns
Discuss health implications related to drug use among older African American adults
Keyword(s): Drug Use, Health Disparities
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a co-investigator on a federally funded grant that examines the epidemiology of drug abuse and infectious disease outcomes. My scientific research program focuses on the drug abuse aspects of infectious disease in mid and later life adults. I am also a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Florida.
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.