Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Adolescent Alcohol Use in Rural Areas: What are the Issues?

Duration: 
1/1/2008 - 1/31/2009
Director: 
John Gale
Principal Investigator: 
David Hartley
Abstract: 

Previous research has shown that rural adolescents are more likely to use alcohol than those in urban areas adolescents and that the more rural the area, the higher the use. Moreover, current knowledge suggests that risk and protective factors may operate differently for rural adolescents. Methods: This study will use five years of NSDUH pooled data to examine the underlying factors that account for urban-rural and intra-rural differences in adolescent alcohol use and how this knowledge may be used to develop targeted alcohol prevention and intervention programs for rural youth. The specific research questions we wish to address are: <li>What are the prevalence and use patterns of adolescent alcohol (e.g. rates of past month use, age of first use, binge and heavy drinking and driving under the influence) across the urban-rural continuum? Do prevalence rates and use patterns vary by age, gender, ethnicity/race, and geographic region?
<li>What is relationship of developmental, individual, and environmental factors on adolescent alcohol use across the urban rural continuum?
<li>What is the relationship and relative importance of, key protective and risk factors in explaining intra-rural variations in adolescent alcohol use? Do these factors vary by age, gender, ethnicity, and geographic region?
<li>How may this information inform the development of prevention and early intervention strategies targeting rural areas and populations?

Start Date: 
Tue, 2008-01-01
End Date: 
Sat, 2009-01-31
Legacy Muskie ID: 
5848

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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