Drug use among secondary school students in Senegal

A representative survey on drug use was conducted among students at Upper Level Secondary Schools in Senegal in 1998/99. The study was conducted by Arne H. Eide of the Norwegian SINTEF Unimed research institute, together with Ibrahima Thioub, Ibou Diallo and Lajla Blom of FORUT.

A net sample of 2952 students was drawn through a two-stage random sampling procedure. Pronounced gender differences in use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and inhalants were demonstrated. 58.1% of the boys and 20.9% of the girls reported to have tried smoking at least once. For the other main drugs, the corresponding figures were 25.9% and 18.1% for alcohol, 12.0% and 0.8% for cannabis, and 9.7% and 3.2% for inhalants. Experience with alcohol is particularly low, whereas lifetime experience with smoking was relatively high in this population. More frequent use was shown to be low. Bivariate analyses demonstrated a general increase in drug use with increased level of urbanicity and socio-economic status. Sensation seeking and significant others drug use and western cultural orientation were shown to predict drug use, whereas a cultural orientation towards the Senegalese cultural context was negatively associated with use. When analysing the four drug types separately, differences were found that indicate variations in how increased use may develop. The study has established base line data that may be a point of departure for monitoring development of adolescent drug use in Senegal. It has further generated context specific knowledge that should be taken into account when designing prevention strategies in this context.

Articles in English based on the study has appeared in The Globe, no 4-1999 and in Psychopathologie Africaine 2001-2002, XXXI, 2 : 235-255.

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