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Revista de Saúde Pública

versão On-line ISSN 1518-8787


MUZA, Gilson M.; BETTIOL, Heloísa; MUCCILLO, Gerson  e  BARBIERI, Marco A.. The intake of psychoactive substances by school-age adolescents in an urban area of Southeastern region of Brazil: II - Distribution of consumption by social levels. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1997, vol.31, n.2, pp.163-170. ISSN 1518-8787.

INTRODUCTION: Many of the epidemiological studies on the consumption of legal and illegal psychoactive substances have included the evaluation of the influence of social context on the levels of prevalence of this consumption using indirect social indicators such as family income, and educational and housing levels in an attempt to identify individuals or groups in different social contexts. The present study investigates the distribution of consumpition of psychoactive substances according to social class in a sample of teenage pupils in Ribeirão Preto, SP, Southeastern Brazil. MATERIAL AND METHOD: A self-applicable questionnaire duly adapted and submitted to a reliability test was applied to a proportional sample of 1,025 teenagers enrolled in the 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th grades in public and private city schools. The questionnaires contained questions about the use of ten classes of psychoactive substances, demographic questions and validation information, as well as questions about the perception and intrinsic behavior related to drug consumption. The adaptation of a model that identifies 5 social class strata (business middle class, managerial middle class, lower middle class, proletariat and subproletariat) on the basis of indicators that situate the individuals within the social relations of production, was used. RESULTS: The 3 middle class strata were more often represented, whereas the proletariat and subproletariat were less frequently represented in this teenage pupil population than in the population in general. There was no difference in alcohol or tobacco consumption according to social class, although prevalence tended to be higher at the two extremes of the social ladder. In contrast, the consumption of illegal substances was higher in the middle class and lower in the proletariat. CONCLUSION: Although the consumption of legal substances did not differ among social classes, the higher consumption of illegal substances by the wealthier teenagers was probably due to the higher cost of these products as compared those of alcohol and tobacco.

Palavras-chave : Substance abuse [epidemiology]; Socieconomic factors.

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