Prevalence and related risk factors of licit and illicit substances use by adolescent students in southern Taiwan

Public Health. 1998 Sep;112(5):347-52. doi: 10.1038/


Deleterious health sequelae caused by licit and illicit substance use is a serious problem in our society. Adolescent students and particularly those who are prone to substance use are of special concern in the prevention of drug abuse. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking and illicit drug use and to identify the risk factors related to these habits among adolescent students. A total of 1358 adolescent students aged 16-18 y old were recruited into this study via stratified random sampling from a vocational school in Kaohsiung city. Students were asked to complete a structured questionnaire anonymously and a 96.7% response rate was achieved. Prevalence of substances use was estimated as follows: alcohol drinking, 70.7% (boys 75.1%, girls 51.4%); tobacco smoking, 56% (boys 61.8%, girls 30.2%); illicit drug use 6.4% (boys 6.6%, girls 5.6%). Significant risk factors that emerged as common correlates with substances use were behaviour problems, non-negative attitude toward parent's substance use, and peer influence. A dose-response relationship was found between the prevalence of drinking, smoking, illicit drug use and the number of risk factors adolescents were exposed to. Prevention of adolescent substance abuse should be attempted and risk factors should be reduced. An educational approach is essential not only to gain/impart knowledge of substance abuse, but also to develop an effective program for health and social development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Students
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan / epidemiology