Alcohol and other drug use among adolescent detainees

Ronald L. Braithwaite, Rhonda C. Conerly, Alyssa G. Robillard, Torrance T. Stephens, Tammy Woodring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This paper seeks to describe alcohol and other drug use among a sample of 2280 male and female adolescent detainees at two state juvenile justice facilities. Substance use was explored by age of initiation, race/ethnicity, gender, delinquent behaviours, and recidivism. Results indicated that alcohol and marijuana were the substances of choice, followed by powder cocaine and ecstasy and other designer drugs. Alcohol use also preceded marijuana use for both males and females. Males engaged in more alcohol and other drug use than females, and they engaged in marijuana use at a younger age. White adolescents reported more alcohol use than adolescents in all other racial/ethnic categories, while there were no differences in marijuana use. White adolescents, however, were younger when they began using marijuana. Finally, adolescents who engaged in alcohol and other drug use reported more delinquent activities and were more likely to have been detained previously. The results of this study are discussed in the context of other studies examining substance use in the general adolescent population and in at-risk and detained adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent detainees
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Delinquent behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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