Reducing Substance Use Improves Adolescents' School Attendance

Published In: Addiction, v. 101, no. 12, Dec. 2006, p. 1741-1751

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by John Engberg, Andrew R. Morral

Read More

Access further information on this document at Blackwell Publishing

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

AIMS: Substance use initiation and frequency are associated with reduced educational attainments among adolescents. The authors examined if decreases in substance use substantially improve youths' school attendance. DESIGN: A total of 1084 US adolescents followed quarterly for 1 year after entering substance abuse treatment. METHODS: Random and fixed effects regression models were used to differentiate the lagged effects of drug use from other time-varying and time-invariant covariates. Self-reports of alcohol, marijuana, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens and other drug use were used to predict subsequent school attendance, after controlling for demographic and drug use history characteristics, problem indices and other covariates. FINDINGS: Reductions in the frequency of alcohol, stimulants and other drug use and the elimination of marijuana use were each associated independently with increased likelihoods of school attendance. CONCLUSIONS: Because years of completed schooling is highly correlated with long-term social and economic outcomes, the possibility that reductions in substance use may improve school attendance has significant implications for the cost-effectiveness of substance abuse treatment and other interventions designed to reduce adolescents' substance use.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.