A prospective study of methamphetamine use as a predictor of high school non-attendance in Cape Town, South Africa

Pluddemann, Andreas ; Flisher, Alan J. ; McKetin, Rebecca ; Parry, Charles D. ; Lombard, Carl J. (2010-10)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


Background: This prospective study investigated the association between life-long methamphetamine and other drug use and high school non-attendance, in a sample of high school students in Cape Town, South Africa. Methods: A random sample of 1535 high school students completed a baseline questionnaire in 2006, and were asked to complete a follow-up questionnaire 12 months later. The questionnaire included questions on substance use, including tobacco, alcohol, methamphetamine and cannabis use, demographic factors, and questions relating to school attendance and performance. Results: Forty-three percent of the students surveyed at baseline did not complete a follow-up questionnaire after 12 months. Compared with students who were not using selected substances, an adjusted logistic regression model showed that life-time methamphetamine use in addition to other substances was significantly associated with non-attendance (OR = 2.58, 95% CI: 1.24 - 5.36) when other non-substance use factors (repeating a year at school and being older than the norm for current grade) were taken into account. Conclusions: Early identification of students with methamphetamine and other substance use problems, and a supportive rather than punitive school policy, may be valuable in improving high school completion and student retention rates.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5063
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