Prevalence of Psychoactive Drug Use Among Medical Students in Lahore

Prevalence of Psychoactive Drug Use Among Medical Students in Lahore


  • Nazish Imran
  • Imran Ijaz Haider
  • Muhammad Riaz Bhatti
  • Atif Sohail
  • Mohsan Zafar



Introduction:  Health professionals including medical students are at higher risk of substance abuse, which can adversely affect their physical and mental health. It may also threaten their ability to provide adequate patient care and be a role model for healthy lifestyle.

Objective:  The study aim was to estimate the preva-lence and pattern of psychoactive substance use among Medical Undergraduates of two Medical institutions in Lahore (Pakistan).

Study Design:  Cross sectional study.

Place of study:  King Edward Medical University and Fatima Memorial Medical College in Lahore.

Method:  All consenting medical students of a public and a private Medical University in Lahore were re-quested to complete a self - report questionnaire. Socio-demographic information, perceptions and atti-tudes of medical students (being reported in a separate paper) as well as information about their behavior regarding six common substances of abuse (cigarettes, alcohol, heroin, cannabis, benzodiazepines, and am-phetamines) were sought.

Results:  Total number of students were 1299 (res-ponse rate (87%). Two hundred and twenty two (17%) students in the study admitted to the use of psycho-active substances in the past with forty six (3.6%) acti-vely using one or more of these substances at the time of study. Substances used by students in order of preference were cigarettes 175 (78.9%), alcohol 58 (26.2%), cannabis 56 (25.5%), amphetamines 32 (14.6%), Benzodiazepines 6 (3.6%) and glue sniffing 8 (0.4%). Students belonging to the private medical col-lege were more likely to have experimented with ciga-rettes, alcohol and cannabis in the past or are currently using them (P values .001, .000 and .004 respectively).

Overall boys had experimented more with these sub-stances than girls (P value .000).

Conclusion:  We conclude that the prevalence of ciga-rettes, alcohol and illicit substance use among medical students in Lahore is of concern and unacceptably high. Efforts need to be directed to increase awareness about the hazards of psychoactive substance abuse among medical students and integration of addiction medicine in the undergraduate curriculum may be one of the ways of doing it.

Key Words:  Medical students, Pakistan, Psycho-active substance abuse.


How to Cite

Imran, N., Haider, I. I., Bhatti, M. R., Sohail, A., & Zafar, M. (2012). Prevalence of Psychoactive Drug Use Among Medical Students in Lahore. Annals of King Edward Medical University, 17(4), 338.



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