The state of methamphetamine (‘tik’) use among youth in the Western Cape, South Africa
Background. Methamphetamine use among youth in the Western Cape Province of South Africa has increased at alarming rates over the past decade. Although current estimates of youth use exist, they range from 2% to 12%.
Objectives. To identify (i) the prevalence of methamphetamine use in Western Cape youth and (ii) the association between use and known risk factors for methamphetamine use.
Methods. Data were obtained from 10 000 Western Cape Province Grade 8 learners in 54 secondary schools (mean age 14.0 years). Prevalence was descriptively reported while risk factors for past-month use were modelled in a hierarchical logistic regression with demographic, socioeconomic status, substance use, sexual activity and relationship predictors.
Results. Approximately 5% (n=496) of learners had used methamphetamine within their lifetime. Of these users, 65% (n=322) had used in the past month or week. Compared to never users, past-month users were more likely to be male, less likely to have a present or partially present mother, less likely to live in an apartment/flat/brick house, more likely to have used alcohol and tobacco and more likely to report having a same-sex partner.
Conclusion. Results replicate previously known methamphetamine risk factors and highlight the need to address methamphetamine use in comprehensive prevention initiatives.
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