Substance Use

FAS data includes information about respondents’ attitudes and behaviors related to alcohol, drug and tobacco use in adolescents and young adults.  Despite the vast number of risk factors that adolescents face, we have found several promotive factors that help youth overcome the negative effects of risks for alcohol and drug use (AOD). We have also studied AOD as a risk factor that leads to other problem behaviors.

Here are some key findings:

    • Cigarette use is a major gateway to both alcohol use and drug use
    • Factors that predict tobacco use in youth include disadvantaged neighborhoods, depressive symptoms, and employment
    • Risk factors that predict alcohol use are: violent behaviors, decreasing religious activity, lack of peer and parental support and negative school experiences and motivation
    • Neighborhood characteristics and involvement in prosocial activities are protective factors associated with risks for AOD use
    • Youth may use alcohol as a way to cope with depressive symptoms
    • Parental support, positive racial identity and religious activity are protective factors for alcohol use
    • Drug use is associated with lack of school motivation and achievement

An image of the Substance Abuse findings infographic

Related publications

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