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FACTORS AFFECTING THE EXPERIENCES OF DRUG USE BY ADOLESCENTS IN A BANGKOK SLUM

FACTORS AFFECTING THE EXPERIENCES OF DRUG USE BY ADOLESCENTS IN A BANGKOK SLUM,Patrapan Laoniramai,Orapin C Laosee,Ratana Somrongthong,Sunanta Wongcha

FACTORS AFFECTING THE EXPERIENCES OF DRUG USE BY ADOLESCENTS IN A BANGKOK SLUM  
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The purpose of this research was to study the demography, financial status, social status, knowledge of amphetamines, perceived harmfulness of amphetamines, and life skills in the preven- tion of drug abuse in adolescents. The factors leading to drug use among young people were also studied. The study group was composed of 354 subjects aged 12 to 22 years, living in 2 slums in Bangkok. The research showed that about 7% of the sample group had used drugs before. Four percent had never used drugs, but someone had tried to talk them into using them. Almost 20% had friends who had used drugs, and 11% had friends who were still using drugs. About 13% of the adolescents in the study group had family members who used drugs and another 9% had family members who were still using drugs. In our study, we found that the most common drug group was amphetamines. On average, the participants had a low level of understanding about drug abuse, especially of the symptoms, side effects, and legal penalties. Most of the adolescents realized how harmful amphetamines and other drugs were and had a high degree life skills. Factors influencing adolescent drug use were (1) personal factors, such as monthly income/allowance and life skills; (2) family environment, such as drug abuse history in the family; and (3) social environment, such as a drug abuse history among friends. When studying the life skill factors of the adolescents, which is an independent factor capable of influencing the experience with drugs, the researchers found that the time spent with other members of the family and the family members' drug experiences were the only factors leading to life skills in the prevention of drug abuse in adolescents. In addition to letting children learn on their own, training them to acquire life skills is beneficial when faced with problem- atic situations. Creating relationships between adolescents and other members of the family, friends, and society can increase their life skills, diminishing the risk of drug abuse.
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