oa Journal of Psychology in Africa - Substance use among rural secondary school pupils in the Northern Province, South Africa

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1433-0237



Objectives: This study investigated the extent and nature of substance use among rural secondary schools in the Northern Province in South Africa. Design and subjects: The sample included 209 rural Standard 9 (Year 11) secondary school pupils chosen at random from three rural schools. The pupils were 90 boys and 119 girls whose ages ranged from 17 to 26. Outcome measures: Data pertaining to prevalence and frequency of drug use were obtained from a 123-items substance use questionnaire by the World Health Organisation. Results: The three most predominantly used substances (current and lifetime) are in descending order of importance: alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. There was a significant positive relationship between availability, history of substance in the family, gender and substance use. Conclusion: The prevalence rate of substance use including cocaine in these rural schools in the Northern Province call for appropriate health education in schools to adequately acquaint youths with the dangers of substance abuse.

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