UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Methamphetamine use and rates of incarceration among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting: a cross-sectional analysis Milloy, M-J; Kerr, Thomas; Buxton, Jane; Montaner, Julio; Wood, Evan


Background. Given concerns over rising use of methamphetamine, especially among street-involved youth, and the links between exposure to the correctional system and the production of drug-related harm, we sought to assess the relationship between ever using methamphetamine and reporting ever being incarcerated in the At-Risk Youth Survey (ARYS) in Vancouver, Canada. Methods The relationship between ever being imprisoned and ever using methamphetamine was estimated using a multivariate logistic regression analysis while also considering potentially confounding secondary demographic, social and behavioural variables. Results Of the 478 youth recruited into ARYS between September 2005 and October 2006, 385 (80.5%) reported ever being incarcerated overnight or longer. In the multivariate model, methamphetamine use was independently associated with ever being incarcerated (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 1.79, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.03 – 3.13). Conclusion Incarceration was very common in this cohort and strongly linked with ever using methamphetamine. This finding is of concern and, along with the previously identified risks of drug-related harm associated with incarceration, supports the development of novel public policy, such as community-based drug treatment, to address the use of methamphetamine among street youth.

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