Experimental Substance Use Among Rural And Urban Teenagers In Zimbabwe
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A total of2000 randomly selected teenagers of both sexes from 40 urban and rural schools responded to questionnaire items which assessed attitudes, influence and experience with alcohol, mbanje (marijuana), inhalants and other drugs. The differences in behavior attitude and experience between rural and urban teenagers were determined through the use of the chi-square and t-tests. Initial results showed that 93% of the 2000respondents had had some experience with substance use. Frequencies of experience with the more sophisticated drugs and western-style alcoholic drinks were consistently higher among urban teenagers than among rural teenagers, but no differences in attitude, behavior and experience with substance were observed at the 0, 05 level between the two groups. A follow-up study with a substance education package designed for prevention and/or intervention of substance use was administered two months later to 50 per cent of the same teenagers, while the other 50 per cent acted as controls. Re-administration of the questionnaire after six months again showed no significant change in attitude, behavior and experience despite the fact that 50% of the pupils had received a substance education programme. Implications for identifying adolescents "at risk” and the tailoring of stronger prevention/intervention efforts are addressed.