Percent of adolescents who regularly use drugs/alcohol
The percent of adolescents reporting that they use drugs and/or alcohol regularly
Evaluators may allow adolescents to define “regular use“ or may define regular use in terms of number of times used during a specified reference period (e.g., the last month).
This indicator is calculated as:
(# of adolescents who report regular use of drugs and alcohol /Total # of adolescents) x 100
Evaluators may want to disaggregate by the following age ranges: 10-14, 15-19, and 20-24.
Responses to survey questions on drug and alcohol use. Specific questions may include:
- In the last month, how many times did you drink alcohol?
- How many times did you get drunk?
- The last time you drank alcohol, how many drinks did you have?
Surveys of program participants or youth in the program‘s intended population
Studies in both the U.S. and developing countries have shown that drug and alcohol use among adolescents is associated with a higher prevalence of risky sexual behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners). This indicator thus measures the prevalence of these non-sexual risk factors for adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes in the program‘s intended population. Where the prevalence is high, programs may need to directly address substance abuse as a proximate cause of adverse SRH outcomes along with sexual and contraceptive behaviors.
Universally, there’s a general understanding that regular drug/alcohol use among adolescents is frowned upon. Therefore, evaluators may see under-reporting if the respondents are reluctant to report on their actual behavior because they understand it to be socially unacceptable.