Drug Abuse in a Student Population

The complex context of contemporary society and the increased availability of a wide variety of medications have significantly contributed to the use of drugs by adolescents and young people. Aim: This study aimed to explore the type and the level of drug abuse in a student population. Method: The study sample included 530 individuals, mainly nursing students. For data collection, a specially designed self-completed questionnaire was used. For the statistical processing of the data the statistical test x2was used, with the statistical package SPSS-15, and statistical significance was defined as p<0.005. Results: Of the studied population, 20.1% were male and 79.9% female and 44% were smokers. Regarding drug use, 13.6% had used or were currently using cannabis, while 5.4% had used other drugs and of these, 1.8% had tried, and only one person (0.2%) was a systematic user. Concerning the type of drugs, 2% smoked hashish or marijuana and 2% used other drugs. In addition, 57.9%, consumed alcohol and 72.8% coffee, and 3.8% of the studied population were on antidepressant medication. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that, students at diploma level more often used cannabis (p=0.014) and that male students more often consumed alcohol, p≤0.001, and used cannabis or drugs (p≤0.001 and p≤0.001, respectively). Those aged over 25 years more often used tobacco and consumed coffee (p=0.001 and p=0.005, respectively) while those aged 22 to 24 years more often used cannabis or other drugs (p=0.019 and p=0.008, respectively). In terms of residence, students living in big cities more often used cannabis (p=0.034). It was also found that individuals who exercised daily tended not to smoke (p=0.009). Regarding income, it was found that students receiving less than 200 euro, did not drink coffee, smoke, consume alcohol or use cannabis or drugs (p=0.008, p≤0.001, p=0.002, p=0.001, and p≤0.001, respectively). Participants suffering from mental or neurological disease more often smoked (p=0.002) or used cannabis and drugs, but were less likely to consume alcohol (p=0.048), whereas they were on antidepressant medication (p≤0.001). Conclusions: According to the findings of this study, the main factors associated with use or abuse of alcohol, tobacco and drugs in the student population are related to their socio-economic status, mental health and age.