Poly-Substance Use Among Male and Female Street Youth in Toronto, Canada

Street-involved youth experience high rates of alcohol and other drug use, which put them at risk for other health-related problems including substance dependence, infectious diseases, drug overdose and victimization. There is limited research on gender differences in poly-substance use among street-involved youth. In this study of 150 street youth in Toronto, Canada, we explore the effects of gender, health and social factors on alcohol and other drug use. Multivariate regression analyses were used to create models predicting the number of substances (alcohol and illicit drugs) used in the last 30 days before interview. The mean number of substances used by the female and male street youth was 2.1 and 2.5, respectively, with up to seven used in total. Multivariate analyses showed that different factors were associated with poly-substance use for female street youth compared to male street youth. These results highlight gender-specific factors to be considered in developing preventive approaches and supportive services for homeless youth with substance use problems.

Publication Date: 
2009
Pages: 
123-139
Volume: 
2
Issue: 
2
Journal Name: 
International Journal of Social Inquiry