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J Pak Med Assoc. 2012 Apr;62(4):412-5.

Knowledge and awareness of harmful effect of substance abuse among users and non-users: a cross-sectional study from Bari Imam.

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Shifa College of Medicine, Islamabad.



To determine the prevalence of substance abuse among adult population of Nurpur Shahan and assess the participants' knowledge and awareness regarding substance abuse.


This was a cross-sectional study conducted in the households of Nurpur Shahaan, adjacent to Bari Imam on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, during January 2010. A structured questionnaire was used and 200 adults of ages 18 and above were assessed about their awareness of substance abuse, its social effects and health hazards. All collected data was entered into SPSS ver. 10. The independent variables in the study were age, gender, marital status, social class, education level and knowledge of substance abuse. The dependent variables were substance abuse, type of substance abuse, attitude towards using and attitude towards quitting.


Out of the 200 adults consenting to participate in the survey, 65 (33%) were reported to suffer from substance abuse, while 135 (67%) claimed not to be in the habit. Awareness about the dangers of substance abuse was higher among non-users (59.4%) as compared to the users, but 40.6% users continued to use drugs despite knowing that adverse effects would follow. Non-user respondents were more aware of the risks involved (75.8%) than the users (23.4%). It remained unclear whether anxiety and depression were an outcome of addiction or a defence mechanism to perpetuate maladaptive behaviour of substance abuse.


Substance abuse is prevalent among the lower and lower middle classes of Pakistan, with a propensity among male victims, to blame external circumstances, which they feel are beyond their control.

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