Risk-taking behaviour of Cape Peninsula high-school students. Part V. Drug use

  • A.J. Flisher
  • C.F. Ziervogel
  • D.O. Chalton
  • P.H. Leger
  • B.A. Robertson


The prevalence of a wide range of risk-taking behaviour among high-school students in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, was investigated. In this article, the results for drug use are presented. Cluster sampling techniques produced a sample of 7 340 students from 16 schools in the three major education departments. A self-administered questionnaire was completed in a normal school period. Estimates for each education departnlent were weighted to produce an overall estimate. Cannabis was the illicit drug most widely used; 7,5% had smoked cannabis, and 2,4% had done so in the previous 7 days. A small subgroup (1,6%) of students had smoked cannabis and methaqualone (Mandrax) together. Reported lifetime use of injectable drugs was 0,5%, and 10,9% had sniffed solvents, 2,6% having done so in the previous 7 days. There were different trends according to gender, standard, and language(s) spoken at home. Of particular note was the Small proportion of Xhosa-speaking females who were involved with drug use. The results suggest that the majority of drug use among school students is experimental. A small number of adolescents abuse drugs and are at risk for its associated problems; intervention is indicated for this group.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135