Running away experience and psychoactive substance use among adolescents in Taiwan: multi-city street outreach survey

Shi-Heng Wang; Wen-Chun Chen; Chih-Yin Lew-Ting; Chuan-Yu Chen; Wei J. Chen
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background: This study aimed to examine: 1) the relationship between being a runaway and the time since the first absconding event and adolescent substance use; 2) whether different kinds of psychoactive substances have a different temporal relationship to the first absconding event; and 3) whether the various reasons for the first absconding event are associated with different risks of substance use. Methods: Participants were drawn from the 2004-2006 nationwide outreach programs across 26 cities/towns in Taiwan. A total of 17,133 participants, age 12-18 years, who completed an anonymous questionnaire on their experience of running away and substances use and who were now living with their families, were included in the analysis. Results: The lifetime risk of tobacco, alcohol, betel nut, and illegal drug/inhalant use increased steadily from adolescents who had experienced a trial runaway episode (one time lasting ⩽ 1 day), to those with extended runaway experience (⩾ 2 times or lasting > 1 day), when compared to those who had never ran away. Adolescents who had their first running away experience > 6 months previously had a greater risk of betel nut or illegal drug/ inhalant use over the past 6-months than those with a similar experience within the last 6 months. Both alcohol and tobacco use were most frequently initiated before the first running away, whereas both betel nut and illegal drug/inhalant use were most frequently initiated after this event. When adolescents who were fleeing an unsatisfactory home life were compared to those who ran away for excitement, the risk of alcohol use was similar but the former tended to have a higher risk of tobacco, betel nut, and illegal drug/inhalant use. Conclusions: More significant running away and a longer time since the first absconding experience were associated with more advanced substance involvement among adolescents now living in a family setting. Once adolescents had left home, they developed additional psychoactive substance problems, regardless of their reasons for running away. These findings have implications for caregivers, teachers, and healthcare workers when trying to prevent and/or intervening in adolescent substance use.


Related Articles

  • Dead-End Street. Mehta, Julie // Current Health 2;Feb2008, Vol. 34 Issue 6, p8 

    The article discusses the risks of running away from home for teenagers.

  • SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS AMONG HOMELESS AND RUNAWAY ADOLESCENTS. Johnson, Kurt D.; Whitbeck, Les B.; Hoyt, Dan R. // Journal of Drug Issues;Fall2005, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p799 

    This paper presents lifetime and 12-month prevalence rates and comorbidity data for substance abuse disorders among homeless and runaway adolescents. Data are from baseline interviews of a longitudinal diagnostic study of 428 (187 males and 241 females) homeless and runaway adolescents aged 16...

  • Changing pattern of substance abuse in patients attending a de-addiction centre in north India (1978-2008). Basu, Debasish; Aggarwal, Munish; Das, Partha Pratim; Mattoo, Surendra K.; Kulhara, Parmanand; Varma, Vijoy K. // Indian Journal of Medical Research;Jun2012, Vol. 135 Issue 6, p830 

    Background & objectives: The patterns of abused psychoactive substances change over time, and it is important to document such changes. The present retrospective study was carried out to document these changes in patients registered in a de-addiction centre in north India over three decades....

  • Fatal injuries while under the influence of psychoactive drugs: a cross-sectional exploratory study in England. Oyefeso, Adenekan; Schifano, Fabrizio; Ghodse, Hamid; Cobain, Kathryn; Dryden, Ruth; Corkery, John // BMC Public Health;2006, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p148 

    Background: Studies of drug-related mortality rarely describe fatal injuries due to psychoactive drug intoxication (FIUI). The main aim of this study was to determine the nature, extent and pattern of FIUI. Methods: This observational study covered the period January 1999 to December 2001. Data...

  • Runaway Youth Utilizing Crisis Shelter Services: Predictors of Presenting Problems. Thompson, Sanna J.; Zittel-Palamara, Kimberley M.; Maccio, Elaine M. // Child & Youth Care Forum;Dec2004, Vol. 33 Issue 6, p387 

    The evidence is clear that the problems of runaway youth are immense, varied, and persistent. Services must be designed to address these problems and the factors associated with them. This study investigated a sample (n=156) of runaway youths admitted to basic shelter services and evaluated the...

  • Prevalence and Correlates of Survival Sex Among Runaway and Homeless Youth. Greene, Jody M.; Ennett, Susan T.; Ringwalt, Christopher L. // American Journal of Public Health;Sep99, Vol. 89 Issue 9, p1406 

    Objectives. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of survival sex among runaway and homeless youths. Methods. A nationally representaptive sample of shelter youths and a multicity sample of street youths were interviewed. Results. Approximately 28% of street youths and 10% of shelter...

  • The Evolutionary Bases of Substance Use and Abuse. Kacir, Christopher D. // Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table;2010, Vol. 2010 Issue 1, Special section p1 

    The article discusses evolutionary theories on human substance use and abuse, contradicting speculations that the use of psychoactive substances is rewarded with pleasure while discontinuance is punished by painful withdrawal symptoms. Contradictions include evidences such as human...

  • Synthetic cathinone abuse. Capriola, Michael // Clinical Pharmacology;2013, Vol. 5, p109 

    The abuse of synthetic cathinones, widely known as bath salts, has been increasing since the mid-2000s. These substances are derivatives of the naturally occurring compound cathinone, which is the primary psychoactive component of khat. The toxicity of synthetic cathinones includes significant...

  • Endogenous Opioid Blockade and Impulsive Responding in Alcoholics and Healthy Controls. Mitchell, Jennifer M.; Tavares, Venessa C.; Fields, Howard L.; D'Esposito, Mark; Boettiger, Charlotte A. // Neuropsychopharmacology;Feb2007, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p439 

    The opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (NTX) is one of few approved treatments for alcoholism, yet the mechanism by which it reduces drinking remains unclear. In rats, NTX reduces morphine-induced impulsive choice bias; however, nothing is known about the drug's effect on discrete aspects of...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics