Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Juvenile  Drug Use

I found an article that was interesting to me. This article was to determine the perception of adolescent’s drug use, and to determine the motivation behind their drug and alcohol use.

Structured interviews were used on 67 African American and European America. The children were from the southern half of the United States. In the south 53% are African Americans and 45% are European Americans. The children that participated were from schools, churches, and community centers. Sixty three percent were European American and 37% were African American. The break down between male and female, 45% were male, and 55% were female. The average age of a participant was 13 years old. Those who chose to participate were paid $5 and free food at McDonald's. Four different individuals conducted the interviews. These interviews were short answer questions or open-ended questions. They were asked such questions like “Can you recall the last time you were offered drugs?” “Do you think saying no affected your relationship with the person” and etc. The data was analysis by a computer program called NUD*IST which stands for Non-numerical, Unstructured, Data, Indexing, Searching, and Theorizing. Next the data was compared to all different types of categories (Barnett & Miller, 2001).

From the results of the study the children were participating on their own behalf and saw alcohol, tobacco and drugs were a part of their everyday lives. Several European Americans and African Americans said drugs were very available to them or they were offered drugs through peers. Many children reported they would see their peers smoking marijuana before, during, and after school. They would smoke marijuana at the park, in the school bathrooms, and in the arcades. The common response was everyone does it or my peer rarely does it. The study found out mostly white males use some form of reasoning for using marijuana. (I don’t really take drugs).

None of the children from the study reported using alcohol or drugs themselves. Many stated the reason they did not do drugs was because of religion, or having good morals from their parents. Some injunction norms were their parents would kill them, or they were brought up knowing not to do drugs. (Barnett & Miller, 2001).

Some other norms found were, children felt like they had to do drugs and alcohol was because they wanted to“fit in” and be cool and have more friends. While others thought to use drugs to solve their problems or to pass time. From research, they have found European Americans use more drugs than African American adolescents do. The injunction norm from European Americans not to smoke marijuana was low self-esteem, being a different person, and being a loner. As for African Americans, their reasons for not doing it was because of getting black lungs, smelling bad, and doing stupid stuff. “The end results”(Barnett & Miller, 2001).

This article was to determine the perception of children’s drug use and to determine the motivation behind their drug use. In return, they found ethnic differences between their behavior norms. Along with the difference in perception of alcohol, tobacco, and drug behavior the study also found to have some inconsistencies where the interviewer could have used more effective questions. (Barnett & Miller, 2001).


Barnett, J. M., & Miller, M. (2001). Adolescents' reported motivations to use or not to

use alcohol or other drugs. The Social Studies. v92 p209-216

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