Prevalence of Psychoactive Substance Abuse among High School Students in Nevesinje and Mostar

Article excerpt


The goal of the paper was to examine the prevalence of psychoactive substance abuse among high school students in Nevesinje and Mostar, to find out the most frequent psychoactive substance among the students, the reasons for using drugs and the level of information regarding the presence of psychoactive drugs in the immediate environment. Of the total number of 140 subjects in the area of Nevesinje and Mostar, 56.4% were male, while 43.6% female subjects. The study included third and fourth-class high school students, aged between 17 and 19 years (mean age 18.5). The program system SPSS 11 for Windows was used for the statistical analysis, and the data was stored in MS Excel 2003 database. Marijuana and cannabis are the most frequently used psychoactive substances (29.3%), and the mean age was 15.5. One third of the students used alcohol combined with pills on several occasions. Inhalants were taken by 23.6%, tranquilizers and sedatives by 15.0% of the students. The least used psychoactive substances were heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and hallucinogen drugs. The variables that were most dominant in the prevalence of drugs were the family and success at school. With this research we wanted to see which drug was most frequent, the reasons for taking the first drug, in what way students can get drugs, and what was the family's role. There was no statistically significant difference according to groups or gender related to drug use. Statistically significant variable were found in the variables of success at school and family.

Keywords: Psychoactive substances; abuse


Substance abuse is a trans-cultural phenomenon and one of the almost unsolvable problems of the contemporary, consumer and globalized world. Addiction disease is an international problem present in almost every country of the world and is considered to be one of the most complex phenomena today.

Substance abuse has evidently gained characteristics of a mass phenomenon, i.e. addiction disease is no longer considered an individual's mental disease. The moral crisis of modern civilization, disarranged and rejected system of traditional values, crisis of the institution of marriage and family make young people feel unloved, unhappy and lost. Frequent causes of addiction result from the society crisis, insufficient self-esteem, dysfunctional family, inadequate living conditions disrupting the process of psychosocial maturing. Drug addicts become »children of chemistry«, which leads to serious health problems, as the time passes by. Young people discover drugs very quickly, teachers late, and parents often too late. In the whole world much effort and money have been invested in opposing the illegal drug trade and in the improvement of prevention programs and rehabilitation of patients. However, this problem has been constantly increasing and has shown harmful consequences for the personality and the society.

In the adolescent period young people are in search of their own identity and they try to avoid their parents' control challenging their authority, not respecting rules and wanting more freedom in their decisions. Adolescents say the reasons for their first drug use are mainly curiosity, desire not to be separated from the group, escape from problems, boredom and others. Research showed that young people tend to use more substances at the same time. Most of them mainly experiment with different substances and stop during adolescence, or the habit becomes moderate. Although the parents are aware of the fact that risky behavior does not include not only the proneness to psychoactive substance use (sexual behavior and reckless driving can be risky), the danger of drug abuse is what is recognized as dominant. Children showing one side of problematic behavior are at greater risk for other things too. Addiction does not occur at once, so there is time for the family and environment to react during this process. …


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