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Keywords:

  • Cannabis use;
  • country of origin;
  • gender;
  • school dropouts

Problem

Scant knowledge exists about high-risk adolescents who are school dropouts in treatment for substance abuse.

Purpose

This study aims to examine the patterns of cannabis (i.e., marijuana and hashish) use among school dropouts receiving substance abuse treatment based on their gender and country of origin status (i.e., Israeli and former Soviet Union—FSU).

Methods

 A total of 628 dropouts referred to a residential substance abuse treatment facility in Israel from 2004 to 2011 were studied. Chi-square and t test analyses were used to determine the impact of gender and country of origin status on cannabis use.

Findings

Significant differences exist for age of first, lifetime, and last 30-day cannabis use. FSU youths begin cannabis at an earlier age. Cannabis use tends to be higher among males and those with Israeli country of origin status. Furthermore, cannabis use among dropouts is much higher than those attending school.

Conclusions

Gender and country of origin status have implications that should be of concern to healthcare professionals treating adolescent substance abuse. Further research is needed to validate the study findings both in Israel and other countries for policy, training, and treatment purposes.