Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs in the School Population of Sao Tome and Principe

Isabel De Santiago, Ruy Ribeiro, Leonor Bacelar Nicolau, Rui Tato Marinho, José Pereira-Miguel

Abstract


Introduction: In Sao Tome and Principe there are no studies on alcohol and drug use among students, who could be potential allies in preventive interventions. The objectives of the present study are 1) to determine the frequency of alcohol and drug consumption in the school population, and 2) to identify the main characteristics associated with this behaviour.
Material and Methods: We applied a biographical, demographic and socioeconomic questionnaire on the use of licit and illicit substances to a sample of 2064 students. Demographic and social characteristics are presented based on observed frequencies and comparisons between groups were made using chi-square tests. Significance was assessed at α = 0.05.
Results: More than half of the students reported consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime, and 32% consumed in the last 30 days. Older students were more likely to consume alcohol (p < 0.0001), but even in students under 16 years, 17% consumed in the last 30 days. We also found that 7% consumed one or more times per week in the last 30 days. The reasons presented for frequent consumption were different for boys (“participation in their group of friends”) and girls (“decrease anxiety”) (p = 0.005). Less than 1% of respondents admitted to having used marijuana, cocaine, crack or ecstasy.
Discussion: Despite some limitations, such as self-reporting, we provide a first overview showing high consumption of alcohol by young people and the existence of illegal drugs circulating in the schools.
Conclusion: It is urgent to implement preventive interventions, namely in the context of public health communication.


Keywords


Adolescent Behavior; Atlantic Islands; Alcohol Drinking; Drug Users; Illicit Drugs; Students



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