Perceptions of Pakistani medical students about drugs and alcohol: a questionnaire-based survey

Document Type





Background: Drug abuse is hazardous and known to be prevalent among young adults, warranting efforts to increase awareness about harmful effects and to change attitudes. This study was conducted to assess the perceptions of a group of medical students from Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim country, regarding four drugs namely heroin, charas, benzodiazepines and alcohol.Results: In total, 174 self-reported questionnaires were received (87% response rate). The most commonly cited reasons for why some students take these drugs were peer pressure (96%), academic stress (90%) and curiosity (88%). The most commonly cited justifiable reason was to go to sleep (34%). According to 77%, living in the college male hostel predisposed one to using these drugs. Sixty percent of students said that the drugs did not improve exam performance, while 54% said they alleviated stress. Seventy-eight percent said they did not intend to ever take drugs in the future. Females and day-scholars were more willing to discourage a friend who took drugs. Morality (78%), religion (76%) and harmful effects of drugs (57%) were the most common deterrents against drug intake. Five suggestions to decrease drug abuse included better counseling facilities (78%) and more recreational facilities (60%).CONCLUSION: Efforts need to be made to increase student awareness regarding effects and side effects of drugs. Our findings suggest that educating students about the adverse effects as well as the moral and religious implications of drug abuse is more likely to have a positive impact than increased policing. Proper student-counseling facilities and healthier avenues for recreation are also required.


Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy