The impact personal religious adherence on emerging America adults' use of illegal drugs

December 2023
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Emerging adulthood is defined as a stage of the life course, characterized by many changes and unique demographic shifts. Among these, one notices a steady rise in use of drugs among certain sections of this population. Despite this situation, little is known about personal religious adherence as a possible mitigating factor. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the impact of personal religious adherence on use of illegal drugs among emerging American adults. Data were analyzed from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The sample consisted of 14,226 emerging adults aged 18-25 representing weighted N=33,732,492 I used four indicators of religiosity (embedded in the following items: “Number of religious services attended past year,” “My personal religious beliefs are important,” “My religious beliefs shape my decisions, “and “It is important that my friends share my religious beliefs'‘) to create a personal religious adherence factor scale. Indicators of religiosity and personal religious adherence factor scale were separately analyzed with regards to past year’s use of hallucinogens and marijuana and the probability of having ever used selected illegal drugs. Results showed that personal religious adherence was inversely and significantly related to the past year use of hallucinogens and marijuana, and the same held true for the probability of having ever used selected drugs. Additionally, all indicators of religiosity were inversely associated with past year use of hallucinogens and marijuana. However, there were mixed results for the impact of indicators of religiosity on the probability of having ever used selected illegal drugs. Although most indicators of religiosity were found to be inversely correlated with use of the rest of the drugs, religious beliefs, and personal decisions to use Heroin, LSD and salvia were positively correlated. These findings should be considered by public health educators and drug prevention specialists when developing and implementing interventions for hallucinogens, marijuana, heroin, LSD, salvia, psilocybin, and ecstasy. Incorporating religiosity in prevention efforts may assist in reducing the use of these drugs.

Sociology, Criminology and Penology