The global distribution and epidemiology of alcohol and drug use among street-involved children and youth: a meta-analysis

Armoon, B., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, Mohammadi, R. and Ahounbar, E., 2023. The global distribution and epidemiology of alcohol and drug use among street-involved children and youth: a meta-analysis. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 49 (4), pp. 381-398. ISSN 0095-2990

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Background: Street-involved children and youth (SICY) who work and live on/of the streets are more likely to inject drugs and engage in psychoactive substance use.

Objectives: The present study aimed to identify the prevalence, distribution, sociodemographic determinants, and risk-taking associated with alcohol and drug use among SICY.

Methods: Studies published in English related to alcohol and drug use among SICY were searched for from December 1 1985 to July 1 2022, on PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane, and Web of Science.

Results: After full-text paper evaluation, 73 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Results indicated that lifetime prevalence rates were 44% (alcohol), 44% (crack), 33% (inhalants), 44% (solvents), 16% (tranquilizer/sedatives), 22% (opioids), and 62% (polysubstance use). The current prevalence rates were 40% (alcohol), 21% (crack), 20% (inhalants), 11% (tranquilizer/sedatives), and 1% (opioids). Also, life-time and current prevalence of alcohol and crack use, current prevalence of tranquilizer/sedative use, and life-time prevalence of polysubstance use were higher among older age groups. Life-time prevalence of tranquilizer/sedative use was lower among older age groups.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of using alcohol, crack, and inhalants is a major issue because they are used extensively among different age groups, including minors. Such findings are beneficial for policymakers, health authorities, and professionals in developing programs aimed at minimizing inhalant use and other types of substance use harms among this group. It is important to accurately monitor this risk-exposed population to understand the mechanisms that might help protect them from high-risk substance use.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Creators: Armoon, B., Griffiths, M.D., Mohammadi, R. and Ahounbar, E.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 4 July 2023
Volume: 49
Number: 4
ISSN: 0095-2990
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 19 Jun 2023 14:56
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 10:29

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