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Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria

versão impressa ISSN 1516-4446versão On-line ISSN 1809-452X


FERIGOLO, Maristela et al. Drug use prevalence at FEBEM, Porto Alegre. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2004, vol.26, n.1, pp.10-16. ISSN 1516-4446.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of drug use among institutionalized children and adolescents; to assess the degree of associated use of illicit drugs with alcohol and tobacco; and to determine which is the gateway drug to illicit drug use. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the Fundação Estadual do Bem-Estar do Menor, in Porto Alegre (FEBEM) Southern Brazil. A questionnaire developed by the World Health Organization to determine prevalence off drug use was answered anonymously by a population of literate minors who were in FEBEM because of delinquency or due to social risk. The analysis aimed to describe the frequency of use of each drug and relate it to gender, age of beginning, and reason of institutionalization. RESULTS: A total of 382 participants answered the questionnaire. The substances most frequently used on an experimental basis were: alcohol (81,3%), tobacco (76,8%), marijuana (69,2%), cocaine (54,6%), inhalants (49,2%), anxiolytic drugs (13,4%), hallucinogens (8,4%), amphetamines (6,5%) and barbiturates (2,4%). Overall, around 80% of the respondents reported having used some illicit drug at least once in the past. Licit drugs, like alcohol and tobacco, were used mainly by males, while medicines were used mostly by females. Adolescents with delinquency records showed a significantly higher frequency of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and solvent use. The mean age of beginning was under 12 years for alcohol and tobacco use, under 13 years for marijuana and inhalants, and under 14 years for cocaine. Concomitant use of illicit and licit drugs was found to be high in this population. CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence of precocious drug use was found among institutionalized children and adolescent, with alcohol and tobacco being used earlier than illicit drugs. Delinquent males were more likely to have used illicit drugs.

Palavras-chave : Adolescents; Licit and illicit drugs; Substance abuse.

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