Drug use represents a major public health problem facing America’s youth (Johnston et al. 2011a). The effects of drug use on physical health in adolescents are severe. For example, approximately 75 % of all deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to accidents, assaults/homicides, intentional harm/suicides, HIV/AIDS, and chronic lower respiratory disease, all of which have been associated with drug use (Arias et al. 2003). In addition to these physical consequences, drug use among adolescents has a myriad of social consequences. For example, drug use in adolescents has been attributed to both criminal activity and elevated school dropout rates. Adolescent drug use also has long-term consequences such as the development of psychiatric disorders, including drug abuse and dependence (Gil et al. 2004). Hispanic adolescents are disproportionately affected by drug use and some of its associated consequences (e.g., school dropout rates) when compared to mainstream society. In fact, drug use and its consequences largely contribute to the health disparities that exist between Hispanics and other segments of the population. Thus, preventing/reducing drug use among Hispanic youth is essential to eliminating the health disparities that exist between Hispanics and other segments of the population. In spite of the fact that Hispanic adolescents experience significant drug use health disparities, a dearth of evidence-based interventions exist for preventing drug use behaviors among this population. This chapter will review the epidemiology (both prevalence and etiology) of drug use in Hispanic youth, the state of intervention science among this population, and provide recommendations for future research to work towards narrowing and ultimately eliminating the health disparities in drug use that exist between Hispanic youth and other segments of the population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)