Performance Improvement 2008. Do Self-Reports and Laboratory Tests Results of Drug Use by Youth and Young Adults Match?


Researchers examined data from a Validity Study conducted in 2000 and 2001 in conjunction with the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, an annual survey that tracks the prevalence of substance use in the United States. The Validity Study provided information on the validity of self-reported drug use in the general population survey by comparing the self-reports of respondents with the results of drug tests of urine and hair specimens obtained from those same respondents. The study also investigated methodological issues, such as technical aspects of collecting urine and hair, the willingness of respondents to provide specimens, and questionnaire strategies. A national sample of almost 6,000 persons aged 12 to 25 was selected for the Validity Study, and more than 4,400 completed an interview.

Most youths aged 12 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 25 reported their recent drug use accurately. There were some reporting differences in either direction with some not reporting use and testing positive, and some reporting use and testing negative.

Approximately 81 percent of those interviewed provided both urine and hair specimens, and about 89 percent provided at least one specimen. The Validity Study demonstrated that it is possible to collect urine and hair specimens with a high response rate from persons aged 12 to 25 in a household survey environment.

Report Title: Comparing Drug Testing and Self-Report of Drug Use among Youths and Young Adults in the General Population,
Agency Sponsor: SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Federal Contact: Art Hughes, 240-276-1261
RTI International

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