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Prevention Science

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 695–704 | Cite as

Factors Associated with Poly Drug Use in Adolescents

  • Michelle JongenelisEmail author
  • Simone Pettigrew
  • David Lawrence
  • Wavne Rikkers
Article

Abstract

Poly drug use in adolescents represents a significant public health issue, heightening risk for abuse, dependency, and a variety of short- and long-term psychological, psychosocial, and health consequences. However, past studies have typically examined just one or two substances in isolation and there is a lack of research that has comprehensively examined possible predictors of poly drug use in adolescents. To inform the development of comprehensive prevention programs that can simultaneously target multiple substances, the present study sought to identify psychological, environmental, and demographic factors that are most strongly associated with alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis poly drug use. Adolescents aged 15 to 17 years (n = 1661; 50.9% male) completed a survey on their use of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis over the last 30 days. Various psychological, environmental, and demographic factors were also assessed. Weighted multiple-level logistic regression was conducted to assess the factors associated with poly drug use. In total, 20.3% of respondents had used at least one substance, 6.7% reported using two substances, and 3.3% reported using all three substances. The most common combined pattern of use was alcohol and tobacco, followed by alcohol and cannabis. Several factors emerged as significant, with conduct problems, depression, and the school environment accounting for the most variance. Specific psychological and environmental factors appear to be particularly important domains to target in adolescent substance use prevention programs. Early identification of adolescent depression and conduct problems and the development of programs that address these symptoms in youth may be effective approaches to delaying or preventing poly drug use in this population.

Keywords

Poly drug use Alcohol Tobacco Cannabis Adolescents Prevention 

Notes

Funding

Young Minds Matter: the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. No specific funding was received for this analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Statement on the Welfare of Animals

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Graduate School of EducationThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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