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Reducing substance use improves adolescents’ school attendance

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT Aims 

Substance use initiation and frequency are associated with reduced educational attainments among adolescents. We examined if decreases in substance use substantially improve youths’ school attendance. Design 

A total of 1084 US adolescents followed quarterly forĀ 1 year after entering substance abuse treatment. Methods 

Random and fixed effects regression models were used to differentiate the lagged effects of drug use from other time-varying and time-invariant covariates. Self-reports of alcohol, marijuana, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens and other drug use were used to predict subsequent school attendance, after controlling for demographic and drug use history characteristics, problem indices and other covariates. Findings 

Reductions in the frequency of alcohol, stimulants and other drug use and the elimination of marijuana use were each associated independently with increased likelihoods of school attendance. Conclusions 

Because years of completed schooling is highly correlated with long-term social and economic outcomes, the possibility that reductions in substance use may improve school attendance has significant implications for the cost-effectiveness of substance abuse treatment and other interventions designed to reduce adolescents’ substance use.

Keywords: Adolescent alcohol and drug use; school performance; substance abuse; substance abuse treatment

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01544.x

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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