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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1985;11(3-4):209-29.

Trends in drug use of Indian adolescents living on reservations: 1975-1983.


Anonymous surveys on drug use were administered to 7th-12th grade students in Indian reservation schools. A large number of tribes were surveyed from 1975 through 1983. There is reason to believe the results are reasonably representative of Indian youth living on reservations. Lifetime prevalence for most drugs is higher than that for non-Indian youth throughout this period, and rates for alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants, the most frequently tried drugs, were particularly high. Since 1981 there has been a slight drop in lifetime prevalence for most drugs. Current use figures show the same trends, with increasing current use through 1981 and a drop since that time. Analysis of patterns of drug use, classifying youth according to number, type, and depth of involvement with drugs, shows a similar trend, with radical increases until 1981 and then a drop in all but one of the more serious drug use types. Despite this drop, 53% of Indian youth would still be classified as "at risk" in their drug involvement, compared with 35% of non-Indian youth. Reasons probably relate to severely detrimental conditions on reservations; unemployment, prejudice, poverty, and lack of optimism about the future.

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