Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Tarbiat Moallem University, Tehran, Ira
Background & Aims: Substance abuse by adolescents is one of the most important health challenges throughout the world. This study was performed to estimate the prevalence of cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking and illegal drugs use among Iranian adolescents. Method: A total of 2538 secondary and high school students were selected through cluster sampling from 10 provinces in Iran and were surveyed in regard to using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through two questionnaires of the statue of drug use and risk and protective factors of drug use. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression. Results: Of all students aged 13–18 years, 18.8% (7.5% of females and 29.8% of males) reported using at least one drug in their lifetime. Tobacco (14.7%) and Alcohol (9.8%) were the most prevalent used drugs. Prevalence rate of using other illicit drugs was 2.5%. There were clear gender and age differences in the prevalence of illicit drug use, in a way that more males than females reported illicit drug use (OR=4.5) and the lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use increased with age (OR=5.4). Finally, poor academic achievement (OR=3.3) and family history of drug abuse (OR=1.3) showed significant relationships with use of other illicit drugs by adolescents. Conclusion: According to this study, soft drugs (Alcohol, cigarette) are more prevalent than other drugs among Iranian students. Since cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking are gateways for using other drugs, preventive programs should be aimed at reducing use of them in lower ages.