Background: Substance abuse problems can be described as developing through a set of progressive stages. The adolescent period, it self is more vulnerable for beginning of various substance abuse. Adolescents usually begin to use legal drugs like tobacco, alcohol and then cannabis and other illicit drugs. Objective: To determine the socio-demographic profile of substance using children and adolescents in a community setting. Methods: 150 families were selected using systematic sampling with random start from a well-defined community. The study was carried out in two phases. In phase I 74 families were identified who had children in this age group 10-19 yrs. There were total of 141 children in this age group. They were further screened for substance use through interview of parents and children. In Phase II, Children who had been found to have used some psychoactive substance were taken in the case study group. Similar number of children who were not using any psychoactive substance was selected for control group from the same 150 families. Both the study group children and control group children were evaluated in detail for Sociodemographic information & nature and extent of substance use by using ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria For Research. Results: The mean age of the both groups was comparable and males predominated (60.5%) in both group. In both groups, educational level was similar but there was higher number of children who were currently attending school in the control group. Majority of school drop-outs were seen from the study group. (57.9% as compared to 28.9% in the control group). This was statistically significant. ). The prevalence of substance use was found to be around 27%. In our study the most commonly used substance was tobacco & Mishri was the most common form used. Chewing tobacco, cigarette and gutkha were various other tobacco containing products used. Further, Mishri was more commonly used by females, while cigarette and gutkha were more commonly used by males. Of the 23 tobacco dependent children 20 were above the age of 16 years. This finding was statistically significant. (P < 0.05). Only the males were found to use alcoholic beverages and all these boys were above the age of 16 years, Beer was the most common form used. Conclusion: Study findings can be used to generate awareness in the community regarding antecedents of substance abuse and the problems arising from it. Community based-longitudinal studies are needed to understand multiple factors influencing alcohol use and recommend targeted preventive measures.
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