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Introduction: There has been a global increase in illicit drug use among young people. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of lifetime cannabis and amphetamine use, as well as to explore factors associated with substance use among adolescents in five Asian countries: Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Vietnam.
Methods: 38,941 school children (mean age 15.4 years, SD=1.5) completed the cross-sectional Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS). Topics covered in the questionnaire included cannabis and amphetamine use. Personal, parental, and environmental attributes were explored as predictors of cannabis and amphetamine use. Logistic regression was used to assess the contribution of potential predictors on lifetime cannabis and lifetime amphetamine use.
Results: Overall, the prevalence of lifetime cannabis use was 0.9% and lifetime amphetamine use was 1.0% among research participants. Cannabis use was influenced by male gender (Kuwait, Mongolia), parental smoking habits (Kuwait, Iraq), and current cigarette smoking in all countries. Amphetamine use was associated with suicidal ideation (Kuwait, Malaysia, Vietnam), school truancy (Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam), being a victim of physical assault (Kuwait, Mongolia), bullying victimization (Iraq, Malaysia, Vietnam), as well as anxiety and current cigarette use in all countries.
Conclusions: Our preliminary results show the importance of personal attributes such as mental distress and environmental stressors on lifetime cannabis and lifetime amphetamine use. Future prospective studies are needed to identify causal relationships among personal attributes, parental attributes, environmental stressors, and illicit substance use.
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