ERIC Number: ED452630
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Sep
Substance Abuse and Learning Disabilities: Peas in a Pod or Apples and Oranges?
Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
This paper was developed as a result of a 1999 conference on substance abuse and learning disabilities. An introductory chapter urges early identification of learning disabilities and appropriate treatment for both problems when they co-exist. The second chapter discusses the differences between learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, the size of the problem of substance abuse in this population, financial and social costs to society, and possible negative outcomes of unnecessary drug treatment of children with learning disabilities. The third chapter examines the question of whether substance abuse leads to learning disabilities and/or behavioral disorders or the reverse. Evidence for the following three theories is reviewed: (1) behavioral effects of learning disabilities are also risk factors for substance abuse; (2) learning disabled children turn to drugs for self medication; and (3) children on psychoactive medication are more likely to believe in the positive effects of drugs. Also examined are the possibilities that behavioral disorders among children lead to parental substance abuse and that learning disabilities and substance abuse are the result of a common cause. The paper urges research with refined diagnostic criteria and greater efforts to inform parents, physicians, teachers, and treatment providers. (Contains approximately 210 references and 101 notes.) (DB)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Alcoholism, Behavior Disorders, Children, Disability Identification, Drug Abuse, Drug Addiction, Drug Therapy, Etiology, Learning Disabilities, Multiple Disabilities, Research Needs, Student Characteristics, Substance Abuse
Columbia Univ., National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 633 Third Ave., New York, NY 10017-6706; Web site: http://www.casacolumbia.org.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Drug Abuse (DHHS/PHS), Rockville, MD.; National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc., New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
Note: This CASA White Paper is based on the National CASA Conference "Substance Abuse and Learning Disabilities: Peas in a Pod or Apples and Oranges?" (New York, NY, February 1, 1999). Also funded by the Ira Harris Foundation.