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Risk and Protection Factors for Substance Use among Young People

R 2010 – Risk and Protection Factors for Substance Use

Haase, T. and Pratschke, J. (2010)

A comparative study of early school-leavers and school-attending students with regard to the factors that affect their substance use behaviour. Study undertaken for the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD), 140 pages.

This comparative study of early school leavers and school attending students differs from many other studies about substance use among young people in that it looks at the underlying risk and protective factors that influence young people’s decisions regarding substance use.

The study identifies a limited number of highly significant risk and protective factors which can increase or decrease the risk of using substances among 15 to 18 year-olds in Ireland. It draws the conclusion that both the family (the young person’s parents above all) and the educational institution can have a major impact on this decision. The study indicates that the involvement of parents with their children is a major protective factor, reducing the risk of substance use, as is having a positive experience of school and learning. The study suggests that the implementation of a range of policies with the potential to reduce early school-leaving is in itself one of the most effective intervention strategies to reduce substance use among young people.