Indexed on: 23 Sep '14Published on: 23 Sep '14Published in: Gesundheitswesen (Bundesverband der Arzte des Offentlichen Gesundheitsdienstes (Germany))
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of substance use of German apprentices in vocational schools, considering socio-demographic characteristics and vocational field.Cross-sectional study of 5,688 first year apprentices. These were 5,001 apprentices from 34 schools of the "Dual System" and 687 students from 15 vocational schools of the social and health sector. Sociodemographic characteristics and prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, other illegal drugs, and pharmaceuticals were assessed. There was also a screening for problematic alcohol and cannabis use. The paper-pencil survey was conducted by trained research staff in 7 German federal states from September to December 2012.Half of the apprentices (49.9%) used tobacco in the 30 days prior to questioning, 40.7% reported daily smoking. Alcohol use in the past 30 days was reported by 68.9%, 45.0% of the sample had a positive screening result for problematic alcohol use. Prevalence rates for the use of cannabis and other illegal drugs in the last 30 days were 7.5% and 2.6%, taking pharmaceuticals was reported by 20.7%. Significant correlates of substance use were gender and socio-economic status. Differences between vocational clusters were also found, with higher average rates in service-based and commercial-technical professions. However, these differences could mostly be explained by sociodemographic differences in the composition of the vocational clusters.Use of psychotropic substances is a widespread activity in German apprentices. Prevalence rates are higher than in the same age total population. The highest proportion of variance was explained by differences in gender and socio-economic status.