Adolescent Substance Abuse. What We Know … and How to Prevent It!. Michael T. Flaherty, Ph.D. Executive Director/Clinical Psychologist.
Adolescent Substance Abuse
What We Know
… and How to Prevent It!
Michael T. Flaherty, Ph.D.
Executive Director/Clinical Psychologist
Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA), Regional Enterprise Tower, 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1710Pittsburgh, PA 15219, (412) 391-4449
Self-Help-AA, NA, Al-Anon, Al-Ateen(Not Treatment)
Scientific studies have now documented that adolescents are at-risk for illicit alcohol/ tobacco/drug use as a result of a unique trajectory of:
The above factors combine during the critical adolescent years to create a “heightened risk” period – often made obvious by increased externalized behavior and manifest opposition, secrecy and/or aggression.
Ref: Maziade, M., “Should Adverse Temperament Matter to the Clinician?” in Temperament in Childhood, 1989, New York: Wiley
Ongoing interaction with the environment interacting with individual bio-behavioral aspects.
Ref.: Tarter, et.al., Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, December, 2002
If any use* occurs as a result of a composite, unique interaction between environment, development and biology, and we know who is at most risk, can we prevent it?
*Defined as Tobacco, Alcohol or Illicit Drug.
A review of the current literature indicates that we can best “intervene” or disrupt the drug use trajectory by:
*Maladjustment in elementary school is a high predictor/risk factor for Substance Abuse. Low school engagement correlates to low self-esteem, low self-expectation and high association to deviant peers … all of which greatly increases likelihood of drub abuse.
Overall, addressing the above four interventions in a sustained manner proportionally reduces, in a significant manner, the likelihood of adolescent substance abuse, aggression and social deviancy.
Ref:Tarter, R., “Predictor Variables by Developmental Stages: A Center for Sustained Abuse Prevention Multi-State Study” in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 16, No. 45, 2002.