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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2008;34(6):810-20. doi: 10.1080/00952990802491589.

Risks surrounding drug trade involvement among street-involved youth.

Author information

  • 1British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2009;35(2):115.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Street-involved youth have been shown to be involved in the street-level illicit drug trade in a number of jurisdictions, though little is known about risk factors and sequelae of this behavior. The present study was therefore conducted to investigate factors associated with the street-level drug trade involvement among street-based youth.

METHODS:

We used logistic regression to examine factors associated with drug dealing among participants in the At-Risk Youth Study in Vancouver, Canada. We also examined motivations for drug trade involvement and types of drugs sold by participants.

RESULTS:

Overall, 529 street-involved youth were followed during the study period, of whom 307 (58.0%) reported having been involved in the drug trade in the last six months. In a logistic regression analysis, crack cocaine use (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.28-2.67), homelessness (AOR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.04-2.40), and self-reported police assault [corrected] (AOR = 1.85, 95% CI: 1.14-3.00) were independently associated with drug dealing among cohort participants. Among participants who reported drug dealing, 263 (85.6%) individuals stated that the main reason that they sold drugs was to pay for their personal drug use.

CONCLUSIONS:

In our setting, street-involved youth implicated in the drug trade are characterized by drug-related and sociodemographic vulnerabilities. These individuals also appear to be motivated by drug dependence and report elevated levels of physical confrontation with police [corrected]. Our findings have immediate implications for drug strategies targeting street-level drug dealing.

PMID:
19016187
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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