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Plos One


Individuals who initiate substance use before high school are at higher risk of negative outcomes. Eighty-six young adults between the ages of 18 and 28 participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews focused on the circumstances surrounding participants’ first use of substances and their pattern of use in the year following initiation in order to investigate similarities and differences between early versus later initiators. Initiation and use among early initiators were more likely to be encouraged by poor parental monitoring or active facilitation of use by parents. Early initiators were more likely to report risky patterns of use such as daily use and using alone. The data suggest that interventions targeting this population should focus on improving parental monitoring and decreasing positive parental attitudes toward adolescent substance use and efforts to increase identification and intervention by middle school staff to reach youth from high-risk families.


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Open access publication of this article was made possible with grant support from Waidner-Spahr Library distributed through the Dickinson College Research & Development Committee.