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Drugs and Substance Abuse Amongst Adolescents - A pilot Study in 7 Districts

Gishoma Darius1,4,*, Jansen Stefan1,4, Rutembesa Eugene1,4, Iyamuremye Jean Damascene2, Zinnen
Veronique3, Habarugira Francois Regis3, Briot Benedicte3, Staring Florence3, Iyakaremye Athanase Ephraim4, Mugabo Lambert4, Ngendahimana Enock4

1College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS), University of Rwanda (UR), Kigali, Rwanda
2Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), Kigali, Rwanda
3BARAME Project, ENABEL, Kigali, Rwanda
4Consultancy and Innovation Business Action (CIBA), Kigali, Rwanda

Introduction: Studies have shown that alcohol and illicit drug abuse are a growing problem in Africa and Rwanda in particular. This study aimed at determining the prevalence of alcohol and drug use by adolescents and young adults in 7 districts in Rwanda.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with mixed methods using individual interviews with questions on alcohol and substance abuse, and substance use disorders. We used Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and other mostly standardized questionnaires to collect data and urine specimens to cross-validate responses.

Results: 3301 adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 24 from 7 selected districts participated in this cross-sectional study. In the past 30 days, 28.5% of adolescents reported to have used alcohol; 4.4% reported to have used cannabis, while the reported prevalence for cigarettes, opiates and cocaine was respectively 2.9%; 0.2%; 0.1%. Urine analysis testing for presence of cannabis and heroin confirmed the reported findings, showing high sensitivity (80%) and specificity (99%). No participant reported the use of amphetamines or methamphetamines. Youth currently using cannabis were more likely to report unprotected sexual practice in the past 12 months (OR=3.4, p<0.001) compared to those who did not use cannabis. Alcohol and cannabis were the main factors for youths to have a protected sex at (OR=3.4, p<0.001) and (OR=3.3, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Alcohol and cannabis are the most used substances among adolescents, and alcohol and drug use are associated with unprotected
sexual practice.

Category: Original Article

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