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Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex, smoking and drinking
Date:11/18/2008

determine if these factors cause young people to use crystal meth, only that they are associated with abuse of this drug.

"This systematic review presents the best available evidence regarding factors for methamphetamine use among youth," Klassen said. "Engaging in high-risk behaviour may be a gateway for methamphetamine use or vice-versa." While many of the results might appear to be common sense, Klassen says there is always value in testing widely held beliefs or assumptions.

"You don't know beforehand whether a hypotheses will be proven or disproven," he noted. "If we didn't engage in these kinds of studies, we wouldn't know for sure."

The findings clearly indicate that health-care workers and counsellors "need to conduct a holistic assessment that includes psychiatric, lifestyle and family history," the U of A study concluded.

The research is intended for health-care professionals, but parents can learn from it as well. "When they start to see a cluster of (factors) that probably is a situation where they should be paying a lot more attention to their children. It may be more of a wake-up call," Klassen said.

The researchers scoured more than 40 databases for relevant academic articles and clinical trials, scientific journals, papers presented at scientific meetings, and so-called "grey literature" harder-to-find sources such as government reports on the topic, PhD theses, and so on. The team restricted its search English-language studies.

The initial search results yielded 2,376 potentially relevant studies. The researchers eventually narrowed down the results to 13 separate studies that fit the criteria of their review. Seven were done in North America and the rest in Asia. The majority were carried out within the last few years. Sample sizes ranged from 60 to 78,715.

Some findings from individual studies, highlighted by Klassen and his team:

Low-risk youth:

  • The fewer years of education that youth had,
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Contact: Meredith McLennan
meredith.mclennan@ualberta.ca
780-248-1320
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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