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Study Links Substance Abuse, Chaotic Family Life to Violence Among Teens in Denver

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A new study links substance abuse, early exposure to violence and chaotic family life, to teenage violence in one Denver neighborhood. The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is part of a five-year effort to classify risk factors that promote teen violence. The new results come from the first year of the project.

The study involves more than 800 door-to-door surveys and interviews with more than 2,000 students, The Denver Post reports. The researchers from the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence found 23 percent of youths said they were involved in a violent act when they were 10 or 11, and 6 percent said they used drugs at that age. Participation in religious activities was found to be the greatest deterrent to teen violence, the study found.

Community leaders in the Montebello neighborhood of Denver plan to use the information from the surveys to create a community action plan that will target the risk factors, the article notes. Their goal is to reduce teen violence and problematic behaviors by 10 percent among children ages 10 to 17 in the neighborhood by 2016.

According to the university, the project aims to reduce rates of serious violent crime and gang-related violence, in addition to rates of drug and alcohol abuse, gang participation, fighting, and bullying or being bullied in schools.

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