Substances use and perception among adolescents in Italy: Findings from an exploratory study

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SUMMARY. Introduction: The present paper aims to examine the knowledge and the perception of some psychoactive substances (hashish, cocaine, ecstasy, etc.) of a group of Italian adolescents. Besides, the study investigates the way adolescents perceive drug effects, incidence among peers, and personal acknowledgement of the use of different substances. Methods: 650 adolescents, aged from 14 to 19, attending the first and the last two-year period of high school, filled out a questionnaire addressed to assess substances use and perception. Results: Inadequate knowledge of some substances emerged. Heroin and cocaine were considered dangerous substances. As for ecstasy, danger was often linked to excessive use. Marijuana seemed not associated with consequences that might threaten well-being. The age of onset was between 14 and 18 years; independent of target substance, the first use almost always occurred with peers for both genders. Conclusions: Among the adolescents who took part in the study, ecstasy and marijuana seem much more attractive than other substances. Ecstasy, more than marijuana, seems to be associated with positive sensations; on the contrary, heroin and alcohol seem to be associated with negative characteristics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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