Purpose: To examine for the first time adolescent substance use by ethnicity, given the high proportion of migrants from non-English-speaking countries in New South Wales, (NSW), Australia.Methods: Data from four surveys of NSW secondary school students in 1983, 1986, 1989, and 1992 were used for this analysis. The prevalence of substance use by whether English was spoken at home was stratified by sex and age using data from the most recent survey year. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were produced by simultaneous logistic regression, adjusting for sex, age group, and the interaction term of sex and age for each of these substances, and for each survey year separately. Data from 1989 and 1992 were pooled together to examine rates of substance use by ethnic subgroups which reflect migration patterns.Results: The prevalence of smoking and alcohol and illicit drug use was consistently lower among NSW adolescents speaking a language other than English at home, compared with those speaking English at home in all survey years. Only the prevalence of solvent sniffing was higher among younger adolescents speaking a language other than English at home. Students from Southeast Asia showed consistently lower rates of usage of all substances compared to all other groups.Conclusions: There may be different opportunities for the prevention of adolescent substance use among native English speakers to be gained from non-English-speaking cultures. Copyright (C) 1999 Society for Adolescent Medicine.
- Substance use