Incarcerated Dad Linked to Illegal Drugs

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio, Sept. 30 (UPI) — U.S. researchers associate increased incarceration of fathers to elevated use of illegal drugs by their children.

Researchers at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University say more than 51 percent of young men and almost 40 percent of young women whose biological fathers have a history of incarceration report using marijuana — vs. 38 percent and 28 percent, respectively, of comparable men and women whose fathers were never incarcerated.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, finds youth with incarcerated fathers showed marijuana usage extending into their mid-20s. In contrast, marijuana use in youth whose fathers were not incarcerated peaked at about age 20.

The biological father’s incarceration was also associated with elevated use of other illegal drugs — such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

The researchers note the associations observed should not be taken to indicate a causal process.

“Further research is needed to more fully examine if it is father’s incarceration, or other closely related factors such as father’s criminality, family histories of drug use, or stresses associated with family instability, that are driving these detrimental relationships,” study co-author Dr. Raymond Swisher says in a statement.

Swisher and colleagues used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health — a nationally representative sample of teens in school in 1995 periodically followed into their mid-20s.

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