The objective of this study was to investigate the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among adolescents from a Brazilian cohort. The occurrence of five ACEs, the use of alcohol and tobacco and trying illicit drugs were investigated in the 1993 Pelotas birth cohort at the age of 15 (n = 4,230). A score was created for the ACEs and their association with the use of substances was evaluated. Around 25% of adolescents consumed alcohol, 6% smoked and 2.1% reported having used drugs at least once in their lives. The ACEs were associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. A dose-response relation between the number of ACEs and the substance use was found, particularly with regard to illicit drugs. The occurrence of ACEs was positively associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among adolescents and the risk may be different for men and women. These results point to the fact that strategies for preventing the use of substances should include interventions both among adolescents and within the family environment.
Substance-Related Disorders; Smoking; Alcohol Drinking; Street Drugs; Adolescent