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Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 1516-4446On-line version ISSN 1809-452X


KERR-CORREA, Florence; ANDRADE, Arthur Guerra de; BASSIT, Ana Zahira  and  BOCCUTO, Neusa Maria Vilella Fonseca. Alcohol and drug use by Unesp medical students. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 1999, vol.21, n.2, pp.95-100. ISSN 1516-4446.

BACKGROUND: The objective of this paper was to analyse the prevalence of drug use by medical students of Botucatu Medical School, compared to other eight medical schools of São Paulo State (at lifetime, last 12 months, and last 30 days). Research was carried out in 1994 and 1995, with 5,227 students, from first to sixth year of graduation. METHOD: Anonymous self-completed questionnaires were used, including the World Health Organization one, for students drug use survey. The completion rate was of 71% (3.725) and 421 were from Botucatu. RESULTS: There were no significant statistical differences among schools, and the last 30 day drug use rate showed the following results, for Botucatu and other schools (drug use range) respectively: alcohol in 50% (42-50%); tobacco in 7% (7-13%); inhalants in 8% (7-12%); cannabis in 6% (6-16%); benzodiazepines (BZD) in 3% (2-9%); cocaine in 0,5% (0,2-4%); amphetamines in 1% (0-1%). Though there was an increased drug use from first to sixth year, especially BZD, most of the students did not approve of it. Risk factors for drug and alcohol use were: a) being men; b) truancy or excess free time on weekends; and c) approval of using alcohol and drugs. Male and female students used equally BZD (contrary to other medical schools). However, women used them earlier and more frequently (female weekly X male monthly). Women used cannabis before entering school (female 30% X male 19%), being the contrary with solvent's use (statistically significant result). CONCLUSIONS: Although the research focus was use (not abuse or dependence), the results suggest the necessity of campus drug and alcohol use policy to be developed and carried out for this population, with curricula modifications, and prevention program included.

Keywords : Drug and alcohol use; college students; medical; students; gender differences.

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