Violent victimization and drug involvement among Mexican middle school students.Addiction. 2006 Jun; 101(6):850-6.A
To answer the following research questions: (a) is there an association between violent victimization and exposure to opportunities to use marijuana, inhalants and cocaine and (b) is there an association between violent victimization and actual drug use among youth with drug-using opportunities?
Two middle schools located in the Historic Downtown area of Mexico City.
The entire body of students (n = 767; mean age 13.8 years, 52% males).
Qualitative research was used to develop questions on drug exposure opportunities and violent victimization. Standardized questions on life-time alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalant drugs and cocaine use were also included, as well as questions on violent victimization and other covariates.
One-quarter (25%) of students had an opportunity to try marijuana, inhalant drugs or cocaine; 35% who had an opportunity actually used at least one drug. In this sample, 59% had been victimized violently. Youth who had been victimized had greater odds of opportunities to use drugs compared to those who had not been victimized [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 3.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.4, 6.1]. Once exposure opportunity is taken into consideration, no association was evident between violent victimization and actual drug use (adjusted OR = 0.9; 95% CI, 0.4, 2.1).
It is possible to trace back the association between violent victimization and drug use to differences in exposure to opportunities. Limitations considered, this study suggests interventions to improve micro and macro contexts, such as families, schools and communities, so young people can have better places to live and develop.