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Psychoactive Substance Use among Medical/Health Faculty Undergraduate Students



Objective: This study sought to explore the drug use practices of undergraduate students within the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

Method: This study was a multicentre study carried out in Jamaica and six Latin American countries. The study utilized a cross-sectional design using a survey method of data collection. A list of compulsory classes for first- and second-year undergraduate students in the Faculty of Medical Sciences was retrieved by researchers and then cluster sampling was used to choose lectures to carry out data collection. The instrument utilized for the study was a self-report questionnaire which consisted of 58 questions which enquired about sociodemographic information, psychoactive substance use and associated consequences.

Results: A total of 380 students (78 males, 302 females) participated in the study; 115 (30.3%) reported a past year prevalence of psychoactive substance use. Roughly half (50.8%) reported that they first used substances when they were 15−19 years old. Students also reported a past month prevalence of alcohol use (16.6%), prescription drugs without a prescription (4.5%), tobacco (2.4%) and cannabis (2.1%) use.

Conclusion: These preliminary results on substance use patterns among students in the Faculty of Medical Sciences indicate urgent need for further research among this population. Such research should be used to inform prevention and treatment programmes that will directly target this student population.

October 27, 2014
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