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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 392-399

Burden and determinants of substance abuse among urban adolescents of Shimla city: How vulnerable are our future citizens

Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Himachal Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vijay Kumar Barwal
Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Himachal Pradesh 171001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mgmj.mgmj_51_22

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Background: Substance abuse is a major but neglected public health problem across the globe. Most of the time it starts during adolescence, which is also considered a critical risk period for the initiation of substance use. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analytical study to estimate the prevalence and determine the association of socio-demographic and other risk factors with substance abuse among adolescents in an urban area of Himachal Pradesh. A multi-stage cluster with probability proportional to size sampling technique was followed and a semi-structured, pretested questionnaire was used as the study tool. Results: We studied a total of 728 participants and 39.6% were females. The mean age was 15.6 ± 1.3 years. Out of these, 12.1% reported any substance abuse earlier in their lifetime. Among ever users, most commonly abused substance was alcohol (8.9%), followed by smoked tobacco (7.1%), bhang (3.7%), hard liquor (2.8%), charas/ganja (1.4%), chewing tobacco (1.4%), inhalants (fluid/eraser) 0.82%, prescription drugs (cough syrup/tablets 0.69% and injecting drugs 0.27%), Chitta (0.27%), opium and heroin with 0.14% each. On multiple logistic regression analysis, male gender (AOR=1.82), among friend’s tobacco smoking (AOR=2.33), alcohol abuse (AOR=4.52), and cannabis abuse (AOR=2.99) were found to be associated with an increased likelihood of substance abuse. High socio-economic status (AOR=0.59) and tobacco chewing among friends (AOR=0.49) had a protective effect on indulgence in substance abuse. Conclusion: The influence of peers played the most significant predictor while the presence of substance abuse in the family was also associated with an increased likelihood of abuse by adolescents.

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