Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Usage Among Youths Research Proposal

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Alcohol, Tobacco & Drug Use by Adolescents

The use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by adolescents in the United States has been a concern of parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders for many years and in many contexts. The purpose of this proposal for a dissertation is to embrace a number of research studies and scholarly articles that bring a fresh focus and provide a theoretical foundation for further study. Research methods include the review and analysis of meaningful scholarship in the literature. The research will also provide information on prevention models being proposed or already in play by communities, schools, and other agencies.

Data and Research on Drug / Alcohol / Tobacco Use

What is the frequency of drug and alcohol use among youth in the U.S. According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) alcohol is used by "more young people" in the U.S. than "illicit drugs" or tobacco ( the CDC asserts that in 2007, data shows that 45% of high school students in the U.S. use alcohol regularly and 26% of high school students reported "episodic heavy or binge drinking" ( of high school students admitted to driving after having consumed alcohol within the 30 days previous to the survey in 2007, and 29% reported riding in a car driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol in the previous 30 days.

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As to marijuana use, the CDC explains that "pot" is the most commonly used "illicit drug" among American adolescents. Marijuana use has decreased from 27% of teenagers (high school students) in 1999 to about 20% in 2007. Cocaine use by high school students increased from 2% in 1991 to 4% in 2001; cocaine use in 2007 was 3%. In 2007, roughly 6% of high school students reported using ecstasy. About 4% of high school students admitted to using methamphetamines in 2007 (down from 9% in 1999); "hallucinogenic drug use decreased from 13% in 2001 to 8% in 2007" (

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Usage Among Youths Assignment

Meantime, the "Monitoring the Future" study - published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence - uses data from approximately, 37,000 students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades from schools in the 48 contiguous states. The article alludes to studies that show reasons why vis-a-vis adolescent become substance users. It goes into detail to reflect that misbehavior in school and "peer encouragement of misbehavior" are "positively associated with substance use at age 14 and with increased use over time" (Bryant, 2003, p. 361). The article goes on to point out that students who have "negative school experiences" are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol and marijuana (Bryant, p 362). Typically, academic "difficulties" occur prior to the student experimenting with drugs and alcohol, Bryant writes, referencing numerous studies that link "psychological distress" and "truancy" with adolescent substance use.

In short, the Bryant research asserts that adolescents with positive attitudes and supportive parents are far less likely to abuse substances and begin smoking tobacco (Bryant, p. 367). The variables used in the "Monitoring the Future" study include: parental education; academic achievement; school misbehavior; loneliness; school interest; perceived school difficulty; effort; school bonding; college plans; peer support for school misbehavior. After all the numbers and data have been presented in Bryant's paper, the bottom line (Bryant, p. 390) is that "Developmentally appropriate interventions that target the needs..." Of youth may help them "negotiate transitions to high school or college and avoid health risks."

The Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory and Application (Monti, 2007) published a report that a substantial number of adolescents are using the Internet to "exchange information about drug use." The Caron Treatment Centers conducted a study of 10.3 messages posted by adolescents on places like and; "about 80%" of the posts related to alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or acid (LSD).

Do tobacco manufacturers manipulate the menthol content of cigarettes in order to target young adults? The answer is "yes." Indeed, tobacco firms do manipulate the menthol content, according to a report in the American Journal of Public Health (Kreslake, et al., 2008), and this is part of the danger lurking for adolescents whose peers smoke or who are otherwise curious about tobacco. When menthol is added in significant amounts it has a strong appeal to younger people just starting their smoking habits. Why? Menthol brands like Kool, Salem, and Newport taste better to the beginner than harsher non-menthol smokes "making smoking initiation easier" (Kreslake, p. 1685). And from there, adolescents often move up to stronger brands with less menthol, like Marlboro. On page 1689 the article concludes, "...for years tobacco manufacturers have specifically marketed brands to youth" - "this vulnerable population" - by manipulating "sensory elements" of cigarettes. Hence, it is critically important that schools provide believable educational programs to warn adolescents regarding this tobacco company skullduggery.

The use of cigars by adolescents - and of cigarettes - is the subject of research in the American Journal of Health Behavior (Brooks, et al., 2008). The research included a random sample of 4,486 high school students in a county in the Midwest. Interestingly, more students reported using both cigarettes and cigars (10.6%) than just cigarettes (6.4%) or cigars only (7.4%). What is also worrisome, Brooks reports, is the "lack of significant decline in youth tobacco use." In Virginia, 45% of cigarette smokers in 9th grade admit to using "at least one other tobacco product" and in California the percentage of smokers using more than just one tobacco source is 40% (Brooks, p. 641). Another survey reported in this article (involving 4,335 students in grades 9-12; of those, 56.9% were Caucasian, 27.1% African-American and 9.3% Hispanic) shows "nearly 29%" use "any tobacco product" (including smokeless). Of those tobacco users who tried cigarettes first, 17.4% presently use cigarettes only and 4% use cigars only; of smokers who tried cigars first, 12.2% use cigars only and 43% use both cigarettes and cigars (Brooks, p. 643).

What the article fails to discuss is the use of "blunts" - cigars and marijuana together. According to numerous youth-oriented magazines, "Blunts" are popular especially among urban youths, who carve out part of the inside of the cigar and pack pot inside. When a person types "How to roll a blunt" into Google, 3,820,000 results come up. The seventh URL on the first page is a one-minute video on YouTube showing an African-American youth packing a cigar with marijuana.

A research article in the Journal of School Health (Johnson, et al., 2008) reports a study showing rural teenagers were "equally or more likely" than both suburban and urban adolescents to engage in "drug use" and violent behavior. The research surveyed 2,394 rural students; 7,027 suburban students; and 5,793 urban students (all in the 9th to 12th grades). Nearly one-half of this group reported "experience with alcohol" (with no statistical difference from urban to rural); one third reported tobacco use (again, no statistical difference between city and country students albeit more rural teens use chewing tobacco than urban teens); and a bit less than 30% reported involvement with "illicit drugs" (including marijuana), albeit urban teens were more likely (6.9%) to actually smoke pot on school grounds than rural teens (3.9%).

As an incidental sidebar story, there are apparently a number of adolescents who use cough syrup (which contains "dextromethorphan" or DXM) in order to get high, according to Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly. The Scripps Howard Foundation reports, "High doses of DXM mimic the euphoric and hallucinogenic effects of Ecstasy." Used in combination with pot, alcohol or Ecstasy DXM can produce "seizures, cerebral hemorrhages and stroke," the article asserts.

Literature Review - Prevention of Alcohol & Drug Use by Adolescents

The Journal of School Health publishes reports from the "School Health Policies and Programs Study" (SHIPPS 2006); in their 2007 data SHIPPS reports that 82% of states and 71% of school… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Usage Among Youths.  (2009, March 2).  Retrieved July 30, 2021, from

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