Alcohol and Drug Consumption among Students from Pachuca, Hidalgo

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Salud Pública de México





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OBJECTIVE. To determine the prevalence of alcohol and drug consumption and its relationship to sociodemographic variables, leisure activities, antisocial behavior, family norms and conflicts, among others. MATERIAL AND METHODS. Data derive from a representative survey of 1 929 students of junior high and high school, conducted in 1996 in the city of Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. Of these, 44.9% were boys and 52.5% were girls; mean age was 14. A self-applied questionnaire, prepared by the WHO together with some countries, among them Mexico, was completed by the studied subjects, and included indicators of alcohol and drug consumption. RESULTS. Of the total sample, 47.9% had tried alcohol, and 12.6% had drunk large quantities -5 drinks or more per sitting- during the month previous to the survey. Preferred drinks are beer and "coolers", which they buy at shops where no identification is required and drink at home or at friend's homes. With respect to drugs, 5.1% had tried illegal or medical drugs without prescription, in particular inhalants, marihuana and tranquilizers. More boys consumed illegal drugs, and more girls medical drugs without prescription. Boys, who are also older, more frequently consumed alcohol and drugs and were more often employed during the previous year at part-time jobs. High alcohol level and drug consumers were characterized by their frequent report of being bored in their free time, drinking with friends and enrolling in antisocial behavior. With respect to family norms, they follow them less and show less interest in doing so. An elevated percentage informed that their parents fight frequently, that they have sought help for this reason and have intended separation. CONCLUSIONS. Groups who drink more alcohol and use other drugs, in contrast with non-users, presented more behavioral problems, more outdoors activities that included drinking with friends, more antisocial behavior, had a distant relationship with their families sharing few activities with them, an showed little interest in following family rules and perceiving conflicts within their families.


Originally published by SciELO Public Health. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link. Article published in Spanish.