This project will continue a 30 year surveillance effort assessing the levels and patterns of substance use among American Indian adolescents attending reservation schools. Each year of the five year project a representative sample of 1500 Indian youth living on reservations will be given a comprehensive drug use survey in their school classroom. In addition, the survey will contain questions regarding violence, victimization and delinquent behaviors;which will continue surveillance of these behaviors over a 10-year period. The purposes of the surveillance work are to observe changes over time, to accurately describe these domains, to provide insight into the nature of drug use, violence and victimization and to inform the efforts of those designing and evaluating intervention efforts. Due to the continuing high rates of marijuana and drunkenness among American Indian youth in many reservation communities, reaching levels that are normative or near normative, extended survey data will be obtained on the attitudes and perceived norms for these behaviors. Substance-specific variables for marijuana, getting drunk (normative behaviors) and inhalant use (non-normative) will be obtained from reservation schools and from a random sample of non-Indian youth living in rural areas. New items regarding attitudes toward marijuana will be included in the survey and the Theory of Normative Social Behavior will be used to compare the attitudes between Indian and non-Indian youth. Hierarchical linear models will be used to assess both the individual and school-level effects of the perceived normative environment for these three types of substance use (alcohol, inhalants and marijuana) which represent varying levels of normative and non-normative use. In addition to the effects of the perceived normative environment, the role of cultural identification will also be examined as a moderating or mediating variable. A final goal of the project is to develop a series of recommendations, based on project findings, for the design of drug, alcohol and violence prevention programs that will be effective specifically for American Indian youth. Schools will be provided with extensive feedback on their survey results which is intended to raise community awareness of drug use levels and patterns, to obtain funding for prevention activities and to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention interventions that have been implemented in the community.

Public Health Relevance

This project will continue 30 years of surveillance of drug use among American Indian youth. These data have been used by various agencies to create policies for reducing substance use for these youth. Importantly, the tribes involved have used the data to raise awareness of the levels of drug use in their communities, to evaluate prevention interventions and as a statement of need when applying for prevention funding.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
Program Officer
Etz, Kathleen
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Fort Collins
United States
Zip Code
Stanley, Linda R; Harness, Susan D; Swaim, Randall C et al. (2014) Rates of substance use of American Indian students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades living on or near reservations: update, 2009-2012. Public Health Rep 129:156-63
Swaim, Randall C; Stanley, Linda R; Beauvais, Fred (2013) The normative environment for substance use among American Indian students and white students attending schools on or near reservations. Am J Orthopsychiatry 83:422-9
Dieterich, Sara E; Swaim, Randall C; Beauvais, Fred (2013) The normative environment for drug use: comparisons among American Indian and white adolescents. J Ethn Subst Abuse 12:107-23
Dieterich, Sara E; Stanley, Linda R; Swaim, Randall C et al. (2013) Outcome expectancies, descriptive norms, and alcohol use: American Indian and white adolescents. J Prim Prev 34:209-19
Tragesser, Sarah L; Beauvais, Frederick; Burnside, Martha et al. (2010) Differences in illicit drug-use rates among Oklahoma and non-Oklahoma Indian youth. Subst Use Misuse 45:2323-39
Miller, Kimberly A; Beauvais, Fred; Burnside, Martha et al. (2008) A comparison of American Indian and non-Indian fourth to sixth graders'rates of drug use. J Ethn Subst Abuse 7:258-67
Beauvais, Fred; Jumper-Thurman, Pamela; Burnside, Martha (2008) The changing patterns of drug use among American Indian students over the past 30 years. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 15:15-24
Beauvais, Fred; Jumper-Thurman, Pamela; Helm, Heather et al. (2004) Surveillance of drug use among American Indian adolescents: patterns over 25 years. J Adolesc Health 34:493-500
Beauvais, Frederick; Jumper-Thurman, Pamela; Plested, Barbara et al. (2002) A survey of attitudes among drug user treatment providers toward the treatment of inhalant users. Subst Use Misuse 37:1391-410
Beauvais, Fred; Wayman, Jeffrey C; Jumper-Thurman, Pamela et al. (2002) Inhalant abuse among American Indian, Mexican American, and non-Latino white adolescents. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 28:171-87

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