Drug and solvent misuse and knowledge of HIV infections in 14–16-year-old comprehensive school students

Authors: Pritchard, C. and Cox, M.

Journal: Public Health

Volume: 104

Pages: 425-435

ISSN: 0033-3506

DOI: 10.1016/S0033-3506(05)80085-X


This study of drug and solvent misuse and knowledge of the HIV link amongst 934 secondary school students, completes a third survey concerned with prevalence of drug misuse. Drug and/or solvent misuse was found in 16% of the sample including 5% who used hard drugs, which since 1985 represents a 3% decline, but a 1% increase in the use of hallucinogens.

The misusers were compared with the non-users with regard to their social characteristics, other illegal behaviour and their knowledge of HIV and other public health concerns. There were some surprises concerning the gender results. Misusers were found to be more socially disadvantaged and more involved in other negative behaviour. Despite reasonable knowledge about HIV-related matters, the misuser group were less accurate on all public health issues, appearing to ‘deny’ the potential risks associated with drug misuse.

Source: Manual