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Daily patterns of substance use and violence among a high-risk urban emerging adult sample: Results from the Flint youth injury study

Interpersonal violence has become a public health concern as homicide is the third leading cause of death for African-American adolescents and emerging adults. Substance use has been found to be a risk factor for this interpersonal violence. Research has previously been conducted on substance use and violence, but not specifically among urban minority samples. This study uses data from the Flint Injury (FYI-1) Study to analyze violence and substance abuse among the participants.

The FYI-1 study was a two-year study that analyzed substance use and violence though emergency department samples of assault-injured youth, ages 14-24, and a group of non-assaulted drug-using youth. These members were reenrolled in a second randomized control trial which took place over 90 days and looked at daily substance use and interpersonal violence. All members were from a minority urban sample. The researchers used surveys to ask about daily violence, alcohol, and other drug use. They also implemented measures to scan for past 6-month physical-assault and substance use. Finally, they asked about mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Out of the 162 participants, 62.3% were African-American, and 66.7% were on public assistance.

Across the study there were 118 violent conflicts with 27.1% being preceded by alcohol and 22.9% being preceded by drug use. What this data shows is that for this test population, 45% of violent encounters were preceded by some form of substance use. This shows that substance abuse in a high-risk urban minority population may increase the risk of violent events. Knowing this, tailored prevention efforts could be implemented towards substance use and retaliatory violence. This may aid to decrease the percentage of these violent events following substance use.

Take Away: Violent events and substance use has become a public health concern. This study specifically looks at these two things in a group of minority urban youth aged 14-24 years. The researchers used the Flinty Injury Study to analyze violence and substance abuse among the participants. What they found was that 45% of violent encounters were preceded by some form of substance use. Interventions targeted at urban youth minorities should be implemented to specifically address violence that is preceded by substance use.

Carter, P. M., Cranford, J. A., Buu, A., Walton, M. A., Zimmerman, M. A., Goldstick, J., … Cunningham, R. M. (2019). Daily patterns of substance use and violence among a high-risk urban emerging adult sample: Results from the Flint youth injury study. Addictive Behaviors, 106127. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106127

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