Journal article Open Access

PREVALENCE, KNOWLEDGE, AND ATTITUDE TOWARD SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND SMOKING AMONG MALE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA 2021

Dr. Ibrahim Enad Alanazi, Dr. Abdulkareem Alanazi, Mohammed Nayel Alabdali, Abdulaziz Abdullah Alanazi, Salam Mohammed Alanazi

Background and Aim: The prevalence of smoking, alcohol intake, and drug use among young people is increasing. Thus, we aimed to determine the prevalence, knowledge, and attitudes of male high school students toward substance abuse, alcohol intake, and smoking.

Methods: A survey was conducted on March, April and May 2021 using a self-administered questionnaire issued to male high school students in grades 10 to 12, randomly selected 8 public and 3 private schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Results: A total of 400 male high school students participated in this study. The mean age of participants was 17.5 ± 1.3 years (range: 15 to 21 years old). A total of 281 students (70.2%) attended a public/government school and 119 (29.8%) attended a private or international school. Most students (>70%) had knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking, alcohol, and drugs. Nonetheless, the prevalence of smoking, alcohol intake, and drug abuse was 27.8%, 11.5%, and 9.5%, respectively. Students began smoking before age 15, drinking alcohol before age 20, and using drugs as early as age 14. Most smokers and students that drank alcohol could procure these substances by themselves. A larger percentage of students that took illegal drugs obtained these substances from friends. These vices markedly affected the performance of users at school.

Conclusion: Among our studied male high school population, the prevalence of smoking, alcohol intake, and drug use was quite high. Students began smoking, drinking alcohol, and using abused drugs at an early age, which may be influenced by friends and peers or their siblings. Some students purchase these substances by themselves while some receive help from friends, particularly for alcohol. These practices affect their performance at school. Although many students were aware of the harmful effects of smoking, alcohol intake, and substance abuse, some students had an opposing perspective. Therefore, health authorities need to educate these students and institute structural and emotional support for students who are in these vices to mitigate misuse, long-term use, and addiction.

Keywords: smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, young students, prevalence

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