Friday, January 22, 2016

Drug Use among Street Children in Tehran, Iran

Introduction and objective
Globally, children who work and live on the streets are at higher risk of undesired behavioral health outcomes, including increased drug use and abuse. Considering the rapid growth of this population in Iran and the lack of program planning that is partly due to a scarcity of research-based information, this study was conducted in 2013 to investigate drug use among street children in Tehran.

With a qualitative design, we conducted a Rapid Assessment and Response Survey of street children in Tehran, 2012–2013. Data were also obtained from 10 focus group discussions with street children using semi-structured questionnaires and 27 in-depth interviews with key informants in governmental, non-governmental, and international organizations.

The variation in age at first use, type of drugs, and pattern of drug use were found based on ethnicity. Consuming of Alcohol was reported to be more among an ethnic group. Drug use problems were commonly described among families of street children. Children whose parents had drug-use problems described using drugs earlier than other children. Informants reported that families with drug-related problems used children for procurement of drugs. Children themselves described using drugs to cope with stress, and to reduce physical and psychological stressors and problems, such as fatigue, sadness, and pressure, resulting from frequent failures in life.

These results suggest that intervention and prevention programs dealing with drug use of street children in Iran should include family and peers when addressing drug use by street children.

Full article at:

1Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
2Social Determinants of Health Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3Social Welfare Management Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
5Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Edited by: Pythia Nieuwkerk, Academic Medical Center, Netherlands
Reviewed by: Mary Odum, Texas A&M University, USA; Limin Mao, UNSW, Australia
*Correspondence: Meroe Vameghi,  moc.oohay@ihgemav_m
Specialty section: This article was submitted to HIV and AIDS, a section of the journal Frontiers in Public Health

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