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Adolescent Sexual Debut and Initiation into New-Type Drug Use among a Sample of Young Adults


Abstract: We examined the association between adolescent sexual debut and age at new-type drug initiation among a sample of young adult new-type drug users. A total of 276 participants were recruited using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in Shanghai, China. The analyses were restricted to a total of 201 participants aged between 18 and 30 years. The average age at sexual debut and age at first new-type drug use were 18.8 and 20.9 years, respectively. About 94% of participants reported having sexual experience (n = 188); of those, 137 (72.9%) had sexual debut before they first used new-type drugs, while 32 (17.0%) initiated both events at the same age. After adjustment for age, income, education, and sexual orientation, adolescent sexual debut was independently associated with younger age at new-type drug initiation. Adolescent sexual debut is associated with early onset of new-type drug use. Our findings underscore the importance of implementing sex-education programs for adolescents in schools in China.

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