• Presentation

Tiking Teens: A Methamphetamine Epidemic in the Western Cape of South Africa Among a Sample of Female School Drop-Outs

Citation

Wechsberg, W. M., Luseno, W. K., & Kurian, V. (2007, November). Tiking Teens: A Methamphetamine Epidemic in the Western Cape of South Africa Among a Sample of Female School Drop-Outs. Presented at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting 2007, Washington, DC.

Abstract

Background: Survey methods were used to determine substance abuse among both Black and Coloured females who had dropped out of school in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Methods: Questionnaires were completed with 450 females in 2006, and four focus groups were conducted to contextualize the data. Results: The average age was 17 years old, and the average age of dropping out of school was 15. The most common drugs were alcohol and cannabis, with 96% of Black and 46% of Coloured teens, respectively, indicating lifetime alcohol use. Among those who indicated lifetime alcohol use, 99% and 78% of Black and Coloured teens, respectively, indicated use in the past 7 days. Use of cannabis was only slightly different with 99% of Black teens indicating lifetime use and 99% indicating use in the past 7 days. Among Coloured teens, 62% indicated cannabis lifetime use, and among these, 85% indicated use in the past 7 days. While 13% of Black females reported ever using methamphetamine (also known as ‘Tik' in South Africa), 91% of Coloured teens reported lifetime use, among these 95% indicated use in the past 7 days. In focus group discussions, most of the Coloured teens reported that Tik use, gang involvement, prostitution, physical assault and rape were common in their communities. Conclusions: Substance abuse is a serious concern among female school drop-outs and interventions are needed to address these behaviors in relationship to other risks while being sensitive to cultural differences and demands. NIDA sponsored.