B4122 - AMOUNT An investigation of changes in young peoples substance use - 15/08/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Rebecca Langella | Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom)
Harry Sumnall, Laura Goodwin , Vivian Hope
Title of project: 
AMOUNT: An investigation of changes in young people's substance use
Proposal summary: 

Substance use (SU) by young people (YP; YPSU) can lead to short- and long-term harms. Although YPSU has been falling over the past 20 years in the UK, evidence suggests that it is now increasing again among some groups. Studies suggest that these changes may depend on where YP live, how they socialise, the health/social challenges that they face, and the ways in which they access and use substances.

This project is part of a larger study that is working with YP and other experts to understand in what ways and for which groups of YP SU is changing. We are developing and testing new theories to help us understand the most important factors that underpin these increases. Some factors relate to individuals, including mental health or experiences of the care system; others will relate to wider contexts such as communities, policy, and youth culture, including how drug markets have changed, changes in leisure and recreation, or shifts in attitudes towards SU; and others depend on the interactions between all of these.

In this project we will first examine whether there is evidence that YP may be using drugs to help cope with mental health problems. We will then explore whether YP who use alcohol and have mental health problems have worse outcomes if they also use drugs such as cannabis.

Impact of research: 
Our overall project (the AMOUNT study) of which this proposed study is an important component, was commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care through the NIHR Policy Research Programme in response to concerns about rising youth drug use after two decades of decline. The project was specifically mentioned in the recent national Drugs Strategy (From Harm to Hope 2021) as informing subsequent activity in relation to youth drug use, including policy, practice, and further research funding calls. Our steering group comprises officials from relevant government departments/bodies, and our findings will be used to inform the activities of the cross-governmental Joint Combatting Drugs Unit.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 1 August, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
Health Services Research/Health Systems Research, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Statistical methods, Social science