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Home > Trends in medical student use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs in an Irish university, 1973-2002.

Boland, M and Fitzpatrick, Patricia and Scallan, E and Daly, Leslie and Herity, Bernadette A and Horgan, Jacqueline M and Bourke, Geoffrey J (2006) Trends in medical student use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs in an Irish university, 1973-2002. Drug and Alcohol Dependence , 85 , (2) , pp. 123-128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.03.016.

Questionnaire surveys of medical students in an Irish university were carried out in 1973 (n=765), 1990 (n=522) and 2002 (n=537), with differentiation of western students (e.g., from the Republic of Ireland, the UK, or Australia) and non-western students (e.g., Malaysia). We report on changes in tobacco smoking, drinking and drug-taking over three decades, and we note that, among western students, estimated prevalence of being a current smoker has declined overall from 28.8% in 1973 to 15.3% in 1990 to 9.2% in 2002 (p<0.001), falling in both males (p<0.001) and females (p<0.01). Ex-smokers rose from 5.9% to 15.1% between 1990 and 2002, corresponding with the decline in current smokers.

The prevalence of current drinkers has risen over the period, to 82.5% among western students in 2002 (p<0.05); female drinking has increased steadily since 1973 (p<0.001), and the overall proportion of CAGE-positive drinkers has risen since 1990 (p<0.001). The mean weekly alcohol consumption has risen in both sexes since 1990 (males 14.3 units to 19.4, p<0.01; females 6.0 to 9.5, p<0.001). There was an increase in the proportion of students ever offered drugs between 1973 and 2002 (p<0.001). Although smoking rates have fallen, our findings show a marked increase in alcohol and drug consumption between 1973 and 2002. Personal misuse of addictive substances by doctors may mean that doctors will fail to take misuse by patients seriously. A need for preventative and ameliorative action during the medical school years is clear.


Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Date
2006
Identification #
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.03.016
Page Range
pp. 123-128
Publisher
Elsevier Science
Volume
85
Number
2
Notes
Abstract reprinted from Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 85(2) Boland et al, Trends in medical student use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs in an Irish university 1973-2002, 123-128, 2006, with permission from Elsevier
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB 3217 (Available)
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