Patterns of substance use in South Africa: Results from the South African Stress and Health study
Background. There are limited data on substance use in South
Africa. We describe patterns of substance use based on recent, nationally representative data.
Methods. Data were derived from the 2002 - 2004 South African Stress and Health (SASH) study. A nationally representative household probability sample of 4 351 adults was interviewed using the paper and pencil version of the World Health Organization Composite International
Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Data are reported for lifetime use, socio-demographic correlates of use, and age of cohort predicting lifetime use for four classes of drugs.
Results. The estimate for cumulative occurrence of alcohol use was 38.7%, of tobacco smoking 30.0%, of cannabis use 8.4%, of other drug use 2.0%, and of extra-medical psychoactive drug use 19.3%. There were statistically significant associations between male gender and alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drug use. Coloureds and whites were more likely than blacks to have used alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Clear cohort variations existed in the age of initiation of drug use; these were most marked for other drugs and for extra-medical
drug use. Use of all drug types was much more common in recent cohorts, with a similar cumulative incidence of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use across age cohorts.
Conclusions. Epidemiological patterns of use for alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, other drugs and extra-medical drugs provide the first nationally representative data. New findings on race and exploratory data on time trends provide a foundation for future epidemiological work on drug use patterns across birth cohorts and population subgroups in
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.