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Factors Associated With Illicit Drug Abuse Among Turkish College Students

Toprak, Sadik MD; Cetin, Ilhan MD, PhD; Akgul, Esin; Can, Gunay MD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: June 2010 - Volume 4 - Issue 2 - p 93-98
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181b246c5
Original Article

Objectives: Illicit drug use peaks during late adolescence and young adulthood. Turkey has a young population, and, as an historical opium producing country, it has experienced a continual illicit drug abuse problem. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of substance abuse, to determine the risk factors associated with drug abuse, and to compare the drug abuse between a metropolitan and a rural area.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study performed between March 2007 and May 2008 at 2 universities; 1 from a rural area (Gaziosmanpasa University) and 1 from a metropolitan area (Istanbul University).

Results: We found that the most common drugs were minor tranquilizers (5.7%), followed by inhalants (4.9%), and cannabis (3.6%). Cannabis and inhalant abuse were especially common among males. The major risk factors were contact with a person, such as a family member or a peer, who practiced substance abuse, a low level of success at school, being arrested or in trouble with the police, and burglary or theft.

Conclusions: These risk factors were similar those identified in developed countries. Similar risk factors were shared between different substances. Hence, preventive measures should target substance abuse in general, rather than focusing on controlling the abuse of individual substances.

From the Medical Faculty (ST), Forensic Medicine Department and Medical Faculty (IC), Public Health Department, Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat, Turkey; Faculty of Medicine (EA), Department of Forensic Medicine, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Canakkale, Turkey; and Medical Faculty (GC), Public Health Department, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Received for publication April 7, 2009; accepted June 10, 2009.

No funding was received for this study.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Sadik Toprak, Medical Faculty, Forensic Medicine Department, Gaziosmanpasa University, Tip Fakultesi, Adli Tip AD, Tokat, Turkey. e-mail:

© 2010 American Society of Addiction Medicine