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South African Medical Journal

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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

Abstract


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.




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