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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 197-200  

A study on substance abuse among school going male adolescents of Doiwala Block, District Dehradun

1 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine and Assistant Director, Rural Development Institute, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT), Uttarakhand, India
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT), Uttarakhand, India
3 Regional Programme Officer, Rural Development Institute, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT), Uttarakhand, India
4 Research Officer, Rural Development Institute, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT), Uttarakhand, India

Date of Web Publication3-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
Vartika Saxena
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Doiwala, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.77260

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Adolescent boys are recognized as a vulnerable group to substance abuse. The present study has the objective to study the biosocial profile and habit pattern of substance abusers. The study was conducted on 511 male adolescents, students of 10 th to 12 th class from the four intermediate schools of the Doiwala block of Dehradun district. 46.9% students accepted substance abuse. In 75.5% cases, friends were providing the substances. 80.2% substance abusers expressed their desire to quit the habit. The study is indicative of need for developing a supportive environment involving both parents and teachers so that adolescent can decide and sustain with the right choices for healthy life.

Keywords: Male adolescent, Students of intermediate school, Substance abuse

How to cite this article:
Saxena V, Saxena Y, Kishore G, Kumar P. A study on substance abuse among school going male adolescents of Doiwala Block, District Dehradun. Indian J Public Health 2010;54:197-200

How to cite this URL:
Saxena V, Saxena Y, Kishore G, Kumar P. A study on substance abuse among school going male adolescents of Doiwala Block, District Dehradun. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Jun 25];54:197-200. Available from:

Substance abuse is a growing problem in India. Earlier considered to be a problem of street children, working children and trafficked children, it has now become a wide spread phenomenon affecting all segments of the society. Substance abuse especially among adolescents has become an issue of concern throughout the world (UNDCP, World Drug Report, 1999). [1] Adolescents start on drugs for several reasons, from curiosity, recreation for pleasure, and as a need to cope with stress. [2] In India approximately 5500 children and adolescent start using tobacco products daily, some as young as 10 years old. [3] Particularly alarming is the fact that the age of initiation in substance abuse is progressively falling. [1]

Previous researches have shown that significantly higher proportion of substance abuse was associated with predisposing factors like joint family, parental abuse status, working status, and illiteracy/school dropout, migration, loosening of the traditional methods of social control, etc. [4],[5] So it becomes more important to examine these factors in the fast changing social milieu. As the previous studies have highlighted the higher prevalence among boys, [4],[6] hence the current study is being focused on boys for studying the pattern of substance abuse so that appropriate strategies can be developed for preventing and controlling the rising problem.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Block Doiwala of Dehradun district, which is the field practice area of the Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences.

A minimum sample size of 489 was calculated, considering the 45% prevalence as per the previous study of the area [6] with sampling error of 10% and 95% confidence limit. A list of all the Government intermediate colleges in the block was obtained from the Department of Education and girl's colleges were excluded. (There are only two types of colleges in the block-co-education college and girls college.) Block Doiwala was divided into four imaginary sectors having almost equal number of colleges. One college was randomly selected from each of these four sectors. All the male adolescent students (up to 19 years of age) of the classes 10 th to 12 th in these four colleges were included in the study after taking informed consent. Students were assured of confidentiality. A total of 511 students participated in the study. Approximately 5000 male adolescents attending 10 th to 12 th class in Government schools constituted the sampling frame.

The study was conducted during the month of August and September 2009. Data were collected by trained investigators by an interview method. A questionnaire originally developed by WHO [7] was used after certain modifications, in Hindi language after validation. The questionnaire was pretested also and used only after incorporation of necessary modifications. Questionnaire elicited information regarding the socio-demographic profile of the respondents, history of substance abuse, type of abuse, peer influence, inclination for quitting the habit, etc.

   Working definitions Top

Substance : The substances included in the study were tobacco chewing, beedi, cigarette, supari, gutkha, pan, pan masala, solvents, alcohol, cannabis, opium, heroin, cocaine, LSD, etc.

Substance abuser: In this study any participant who has accepted having used one or more mentioned substances during past 1 year and has been taking it at least once in a week or several times in the previous month was considered to be a substance abuser.

The data so collected were analyzed by using SPSS software and chi-square value and percentages were calculated.

A total of 511 students participated in the study. None of the students had quit the interview; however 7 (2.9%) students did not answer few questions pertaining to their habit pattern and about quitting the habit.

Biosocial profile of students [Table 1] : 240 (46.9%) adolescents gave the history of substance abuse. Increasing age was found significantly associated with the increasing prevalence of substance abuse (P<0.01). Highest percentage of abuse was observed in 12 th class students. It was observed that adolescents from the business class families followed by Government servants were more involved in substance abuse than the children of farmers and laborers and the finding was highly significant (P<0.01).
Table 1: Biosocial profile of students

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Strikingly, the study showed more substance abuse among adolescent with good relationship with family members (44.3%) in comparison to adolescents having tensed (37.7%) family relationship. The study also showed lower prevalence of substance abuse (34.4%) among adolescents who have lost their one or both the parents in comparison to adolescents with both the parents alive (47.7%).

Behavioral pattern of substance abusers [Table 2]: Most of substance abuser (55.3%) reported initiation of substance abuse from the age of 14-15 years. In most of the cases, friends were providing the substances (75.5%). Supari/gutkha/pan was found to be the most common substances (56.2%) followed by beedi tobacco and cigarette (33.1%). In 8.7% cases, adolescents were found to be taking alcohol. In most of the cases, substance abuse was done in the evenings (63%) or in the afternoon (27%). In 55% cases, adolescents reported use of their pocket money for purchasing the substance. In 40.8% cases, money was provided by their friends.
Table 2: Habit pattern of substance abusers*

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Consequences of substance abuse and quitting the habit: In 68.7% of cases, adolescents did not report any adverse symptoms, but in 26% cases adolescent reported craving for the substance. In 5.6% cases, it was reported that they have increased the quantity or added some other drug for getting the same hike. 80.2% substance abusers expressed their desire to quit the habit.

The present study reveals 46.9% prevalence of substance abuse among male adolescents which is lower than that reported by Benegal et al.[8] among street children in the slums of Bangalore (70.1%) and by Sarangi et al.[4] among adolescents of urban slums of Sambalpur (49.5 %). However, slightly lower prevalence was reported by Juyal et al.[6] in their study on intermediate school going students (45.8%) of the same district 4 years back.

The study also finds that the adolescents with both parents alive showed a higher percentage of substance abuse (47.7%) than the broken families (34.4%). In contrast to the study findings, Benegal et al.[8] in 1999 reported higher percentage (55%) of substance abuse among children of broken families from urban slums in Bangalore.

Strikingly, the study has reported a higher percentage of substance abuse among adolescents having a good relationship with family members (44.3%) may be because of unsupervised availability of money in those families than in the families having tensed relationship. Unavailability or inaccessibility of money to adolescents could also be reason for having tensed relationship. The study reported higher levels of substance abuse in nuclear families (48.8); however, Sarangi et al.[4] (2008) reported significantly higher proportion of substance abuse among adolescents from joint family (47.3%).

The study also revealed that highest percentage of drug abusers (61.3%) are coming from business-class families and the least from the families where father is involved in farming (34%). Naskar et al.[2] in a study from Calcutta reported similar percentage of drug users among business-class families (62.7%); however, Rao et al.[9] reported only 27.82% cases of drug abuse in the business-class families in study conducted in Belgaum indicating that the effect of occupation varies from place to place.

As per the study, most of the adolescents started with substance abuse around 14-15 years of age (55.3%) through their friends/peer groups as the frequent substance provider to them (75.5%). Sarangi et al.[4] have reported similar findings of substance abuse initiation around the mean age of 14.65±0.65. She has also reported in 0.4% cases, family member as the source of their first drug use which is the same as per our study. Peer pressure was the most common factor for substance abuse (52.8%) in the study by Sarangi et al.[4] and Bansal et al.,[5] similar to our study findings of where it is revealed that in most of the cases (75.5%) friends were providing the substances. Naskar et al.[2] in 2004 have reported lower percentage of friends as the substance provider to college students (47.5%).

Supari/gutka/pan was the most common substance of abuse in the present study (57.2%). Cigarette and tobacco were found to be second most common substances abused by adolescents (33.1%). Sarangi et al.[4] have reported gutka (91.7%) as the most common substance abused by urban slum adolescents followed by pan. In the present study, it was found that 55.4% adolescents were using the pocket money for purchasing these substances; similarly, Sarangi et al.[4] also reported that a majority of adolescents (69.8%) purchased substance for abuse from their self-earning.

In our study, 58.3% of the substance abusers had one of the family members also indulged in substance abuse. Sarangi et al.[4] reported lower percentage of (46.7%) substance abusers as the family members.

In our study, 26% of the cases in adolescents reported craving for substance which indicates toward their dependence on the substance; even some of them have increased their quantity and have added other drugs as a cocktail to get the same hike (5.6%). A similar report of use of multiple substances by the substance abusers was seen by Sarangi et al.[4] among urban slum adolescents (3.34 substances abused per adolescents).

The present study revealed that 80.2% of the substance abusers expressed their desire to quit the habit. A similar percentage of all substance abusers among the adolescent street boys in the Mumbai city also wanted to quit to the study conducted by Abhay et al.[10] Most of the adolescents who wanted to quit the habit were self motivated.

The study showed a relatively higher rate of prevalence of substance abuse with increasing literacy status among school going adolescents, who are from economically stable families with good familial relationship. With the support of peer group and pocket money provided by family they get into the habit of substance abuse. A majority of them take substances in the afternoon or evenings. Hence, there is need for developing peer group-based interactive and interesting activities which can be organized in the evening hours /after school timings for the adolescents for channelizing their energy in positive direction.

   References Top

1.UNDCP World Drug Report. New York; Oxford University press Inc.; 1997.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Naskar NN, Roy M, Bhattacharya S K. A study of some socioeconomic factors on drug abuse among the undergraduate medical students in Calcutta. Indian J Community Med 2004;29:69-71.  Back to cited text no. 2
  Medknow Journal  
3.Patel DR, Greydanus DE. Substance Abuse: A Paediatric Concern. Indian J Pediatr 1999;66:557-67.   Back to cited text no. 3
4.Sarangi L, Himanshu P, Acharya O, P Panigrahi. Substance abuse among adolescents in urban slums of Sambalpur. Indian J Community Med 2008;33:265-7.   Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
5.Bansal RK, Banerjee S. Substance use by child laborers. Indian J Psychol 1993;35:159-61.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Juyal R, Bansal R, Kishore S, Negi KS, Chandra R, Semwal J. Substance abuse among Intercollege students in District Dehradun. Indian J Community Med 2006;31:10-127.   Back to cited text no. 6
7.Taveres BF, Beria JU Silva MS. Drug use Prevalence and School performance among Adolescents. Rev Saude Publica 2001;35:150-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Benegal V, Seshadri S, Karott M. Drug abuse among street children in Bangalore. A project in calibration between NIMHANS, Bangalore and the Bangalore Forum for street and working children, Monograph funded by CRY; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Rao B, Sridhar, Wanta M, Mallarpur AS. Drug use and addiction among students of J N Medical College, Belgaum. Indian J Ben Soc Med 1981;12:149-83.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Abhay MG, Zahiruddin QS, Waghmare L, Shanbhag S, Zodpey S, Joharapurkar SR. Substance abuse among street children in Mumbai Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies. 2008;3:42-51.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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