Prevalence and correlates of substance use by Egyptian school youth

Christopher A. Loffredo, Yousri Edward Shaker, Irene A. Jillson, Dina N.K. Boulos, Doa'a A. Saleh, Magdy Garas, Mar-Jan Ostrowski, Xiaoyang Sun, Xiaofei Chen, Benjamin Shander, Sania Amr


Loffredo, C., Shaker, Y., Jillson, I., Boulos, D., Saleh, D., Garas, M., Ostrowski, M., Sun, X., Chen, X., Shander, B., & Amr, S. (2017). Prevalence and correlates of substance use by Egyptian school youth. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 6(1), 37-51. doi:

Aims: Substance use among Egyptian youth is an emerging public health problem, yet there is a paucity of information on the prevalence and correlates of these behaviors. To address this gap, we conducted surveys at 25 schools in Egypt in 2013 and 2014.

Design: We calculated associations between substance use prevalence and age, gender, residence area, living arrangement, and employment status, along with adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Setting: Cairo region and southern Egypt.
Participants: School youth ages 12-18 (N=1,415).

Measures: Self-administered survey on the use of cigarettes, waterpipes, alcohol, hashish, bango, heroin, Tramadol, other oral medications, injected substances, and glue/petrol sniffing; together with the amount and frequency of each substance used and age at initiation, in addition to demographic characteristics.

Findings: Seventy-two percent of participants were male. Tobacco and cannabinoids were the most commonly used substances by both genders. Males reported smoking cigarettes (25%), waterpipes (15%), and hashish (6%), drinking alcohol (16%), and taking Tramadol (3%). Younger age (12–14 years) and residence outside of Cairo were somewhat protective. Among males, but not females, having a job increased the odds of smoking cigarettes (OR = 1.8, 95% CI [1.3, 2.6]), waterpipes (OR = 1.9, 95% CI [1.2, 2.9]), or hashish (OR = 2.0, 95% CI [1.1, 3.7]).

Conclusions: These findings, consistent with reports from other countries, can inform the design and direct the resources of future public health programs targeting adolescents to prevent the onset of substance use and ultimately addiction in Egypt and elsewhere.


substance use; youth; survey; tobacco; alcohol

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