One problem among many: drug use among care leavers in transition to independent living

Project report


Ward, J., Henderson, Z. and Pearson, G. 2003. One problem among many: drug use among care leavers in transition to independent living. London, UK Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
TypeProject report
TitleOne problem among many: drug use among care leavers in transition to independent living
AuthorsWard, J., Henderson, Z. and Pearson, G.
Abstract

This study aimed to examine the way in which care leavers’ drug use developed during the process of transition from being looked after by their local authority to independent living. Two hundred young people, who were preparing to leave local authority care or who had left the family home (typically in conflict situations) to live on their own, were surveyed. Their average age was 18. Survey findings showed levels of illegal drug use amongst this group to be higher than within the general population, particularly use of Class A drugs.
The most popular drug was cannabis, with three-quarters admitting to lifetime use and a third smoking it daily. Overall, there had been a decline in drug use amongst the young people over the past year. In-depth interviews were also conducted with a sub-sample of 30 individuals six months after the initial survey. These interviews displayed a distinction between those who had a relatively smooth transition to independence and those for whom the transition had been chaotic. The latter group was closely associated with heavy drug use. Staying at a hostel during transition from care had an adverse effect on young people’s drug taking as socialising and peer pressure led to increased drug use. On the other hand, the increased responsibilities of running their own home, managing a household budget and pregnancy or parenthood were associated with decreased drug use. For most of the care leavers in the study drug use had been a passing phase, diminishing as they had matured. ‘Maturing out ‘ of drug use occurred at a younger age for young people leaving care than that found in the general population. Possible improvements to drugs services for young care leavers are outlined.

LanguageEnglish
ISSN0072-6435
ISBN
Hardcover1840829575
PublisherHome Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
Place of publicationLondon, UK
Publication dates
PrintFeb 2003
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Aug 2010
Output statusPublished
Additional information

Home Office Research Study 260

Web address (URL)https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20110218144402mp_/http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/hors260.pdf
SeriesHome Office Research Study 260
Department nameResearch Development and Statistics Directorate
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