Substance Use and Need for Treatment among Youths Who Have Been in Foster Care
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Youth who have been in foster care are more likely to use drugs or alcohol than youth who have never been in care, but they’re also more likely to receive treatment for substance abuse when they need it, according to this study based on 2002 and 2003 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance abuse is a factor in at least three-quarters of all foster care placements, according to the report.
Of the approximately 680,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who reported ever having been in foster care, more than one-third reported illicit drug use, compared with 22 percent of other youth. There were similar differences for alcohol use. Among youth who had ever been in foster care, older youth and white youth were more likely to use drugs and alcohol. More of the youth who had been in foster care met the medical criteria for needing substance abuse treatment than did other youth (17 percent vs. 9 percent). Among both groups who needed treatment, youth who had been in foster care were more likely to have received it (19 percent vs. 7 percent). Free. Three pages. (240) 276-2127, www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k5/FosterCare/FosterCare.cfm.
2004 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS)
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
The current generation of parents – the most drug-experienced group on record – sees less risk in drug use and talks less to their children about it than did parents just a few years ago, according to this 17th annual study. Fifty-one percent of the 1,205 parents surveyed said they would be upset if their children experimented with marijuana. The number of parents who report never talking with their children about drugs doubled from 6 percent in 1998 to 12 percent in 2004.
While only 11 percent of the parents surveyed in 2004 reported smoking marijuana in the past year, 58 percent said they had tried marijuana at least once in their lives. Just 18 percent believed their own teens had smoked marijuana, while 39 percent of teens (not related to the adults surveyed) said they had. The report says parents and teens are even more disconnected when it comes to the use of drugs, such as Ecstasy, that weren’t available in the 1970s and 1980s. Free. 13 pages. (212) 922-1560, www.drugfree.org/Files/PATS_Parents_Full_Report_2004.
Underage Drinking in the United States: A Status Report
2004 Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University
In September 2003, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish an annual report on underage drinking. While HHS has yet to publish such a report, CAMY set to work gathering national research for this study, which it offers it as a prototype. CAMY found that:
• 7,000 youth under age 16 take up drinking every day.
• Nearly 20 percent of eighth-graders, more than one-third of 10th-graders and nearly half of 12th-graders were current drinkers in 2004.
• Beer consumption by eighth- and 10th-graders increased significantly from 2003 to 2004.
• An estimated 4,554 people under the age of 21 die each year due to excessive alcohol use.
The “STOP Underage Drinking Act,” introduced in Congress in February, would require an annual report from HHS, a media campaign aimed at adults and improved data collection on youth brand preferences and exposure to alcohol advertising. Free. 16 pages. (202) 687-1019, http://camy.org/research/underage2004/report.pdf.
Parents and Teens Finally Agree on Something: ADHD Treatment Works
National Mental Health Association
Teenagers diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their parents agree that treating the condition helps teens do better in school, boosts their self-esteem, improves their social relationships and enhances their participation in extracurricular activities, according to this survey.
Roughly two-thirds of the teens (61 percent) and their parents (66 percent) reported treating ADHD with medication, counseling, behavior therapy or social services. The families said that before they sought help, the condition posed major barriers to the teens’ learning, self-confidence and relationships with others. After receiving treatment, approximately three-quarters of both groups reported at least some improvement in the teens’ ability to “feel good/feel happy.” Nearly six in 10 teens said their grades improved.
Nearly nine in 10 parents with a teen receiving treatment believe medication is the most effective treatment for ADHD. Free. 10 pages. (703) 838-7551, www.nmha.org/newsroom/NMHA-ADHDsurveyrelease.pdf.
Panel on the Nonprofit Sector: Interim Report The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector
In its first interim report to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the panel calls on the nation’s 1.3 million nonprofit organizations to “improve their governance and financial disclosure,” and suggests increased federal oversight of charities and foundations “through actions by Congress and the Internal Revenue Service.”
Among the key recommendations: adopting conflict of interest policies for nonprofits; mandating electronic filing of federal form 990 tax returns and suspending the tax-exempt status of organizations that fail to file; and incorporating federal tax standards for charitable organizations into state law.
The panel, convened at the encouragement of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), is made up of more than 175 experts and nonprofit leaders from around the country. The panel will issue its final report in June. Free. 72 pages. (202) 467-6163, www.nonprofitpanel.org/interim/PanelReport.pdf.
Making Out-of-School-Time Matter: Evidence for an Action Agenda
After conducting a broad-ranging literature review, RAND reports that few out-of-school-time (OST) programs have been rigorously evaluated, and that the few rigorous evaluations that do exist show only modest positive effects on academic achievement and social behavior. The researchers also question the existence of a reputed shortage in publicly funded care for children outside of school, saying some previous studies pointing to unmet demands also documented open slots and dropouts in programs. According to RAND, only 17 percent of children ages 5 to 14 with working mothers attend OST programs, as do 11 percent of those with mothers who are not employed.
The study notes “unprecedented growth” in public funding for OST programs over the past two decades, and concludes that policy-makers should remain skeptical of claims about “pent-up” demands for the programs, and of the programs’ ability to produce multiple postive outcomes for youth. The researchers make several recommendations, including local assessments to clarify demand and a variety of more rigorous evaluations. Free. 153 pages. (877) 584-8642, www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG242.pdf. See also “After-school.”
2004 National Runaway Switchboard Statistics
National Runaway Switchboard (NRS)
More than half (58 percent) of the nearly 47,000 youth who called NRS in 2004 said they were already on the streets as runaways, throwaways or homeless youth.
Two-thirds of that group said they had been on the streets for one to seven days, and 6 percent said they had been on the streets for more than six months.
Forty-nine percent of youth on the street said they were staying with friends or relatives. More than one-quarter said they had run away before. Most youth callers were ages 16 or 17, and more than two-thirds were female. Among callers of all ages, more than one-third said family dynamics such as divorce, remarriage or problems with siblings prompted their calls. The top five states from which NRS volunteers took calls were Illinois (19,264), California (15,629), Texas (9,542), Florida (6,779) and New York (5,241). Free online. (773) 880-9860, www.1800runaway.org/2004stat.asp.
Acculturation as a Predictor of the Onset of Sexual Intercourse Among Hispanic and White Teens
University of Arizona
Hispanic youth with lower levels of acculturation (integration into American society) who speak Spanish as their primary language are significantly more likely than their acculturated, English-speaking Hispanic peers to delay initial sexual intercourse, say researchers in Arizona. Less-integrated Hispanic youth were 40 percent less likely to have had first intercourse than white youth, 55 percent less likely than bilingual Hispanic youth and 65 percent less likely than English-speaking Hispanic youth.
Highly acculturated English-speaking Hispanic teens were 170 percent more likely than white youth to have had intercourse. Researchers say their study – based on surveys of 7,270 seventh- through 12th graders in Arizona – indicates that holding onto one’s culture of origin can have a protective effect on teens, and underscores the need for sex education for Hispanic youth who are becoming absorbed into U.S. culture. The study appears in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Abstract free online. (520) 626-7217, http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/159/3/261.
A Systematic Review of School-Based Smoking Prevention Trials with Long-Term Follow-Up
Indiana University School of Medicine
Most programs that educate junior high school and high school students about the health risks of smoking don’t result in fewer young smokers, according to this meta-analysis.
Researchers reviewed eight scientifically rigorous school-based smoking prevention programs that included follow-up data on participants up to age 18, or until 12th grade. They found “little evidence to suggest that existing [programs] produce long-term reductions in smoking prevalence among youth.” Those included the popular DARE program. Only one program, Life Skills, showed significantly fewer smokers at follow-up.
The study, which appears in the March issue of The Journal of Adolescent Health, is accompanied by an editorial suggesting that media advertising, tax levies and smoke-free environments are more effective anti-smoking strategies with youth. Free. 8 pages. (317) 274-7722, http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/1054-139X/PIIS1054139X04004604.pdf.