Prevalence of cannabis and amphetamine in Aseer Region, Saudi Arabia: a retrospective study

Background: Cannabis and Amphetamine abuse is a public problem in Aseer region. It is associated with many occupational and legal consequences. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of cannabis and amphetamine addiction among two groups; job applicants group and narcotics group.

Methods: This retrospective study included 8750 subjects; of them 4649 were job applicants; while 4101 were narcotic crimes candidates. The research was done in the period from January 2016 to December 2017. The data was collected from the Poison Control and Forensic Chemistry Center, Abha, Saudi Arabia. Semi full data was only obtained from 30 of job applicants and 48 of narcotic group.

Results: In the narcotic crimes group; 1345(32.80%) were positive for amphetamine and 852 (18.33%) were positive for cannabis. In the job applicants; 56 (1.20%) were positive for amphetamine and 16 (0.34%) were positive for cannabis. Overall confirmed positive cases in the narcotic group were 2197 (53.57%), while in the job applicants group were 72 (1.55%). The overall prevalence of the amphetamine in the study groups was 16.01%; while the prevalence of cannabis in the study groups was 9.92%.

According to the newly obtained data; the age and the marital status were significantly correlated with the type of the drug; (P value 0.000 & 0.034). The mean age of the job applicants was (23.5 ± 2.21years), while for narcotic group was (29.2 ± 11.4 years). All study groups were males; except 6 females in the narcotic group. Concerning the marital status; 24 (80%) were married in job applicants, and 32 (66.7%) in the narcotic group.

Concerning drug type; in job applicants 22 (73.3%) were amphetamine users, while in narcotic group 25 (52.1%) were amphetamine users. In job applicants 5 (16.7%) were cannabis users, while in narcotic group 12 (25%) were cannabis users, while both amphetamine & cannabis users were 11 (22.9%) in the narcotic group and 3 (10%) in job applicants respectively.

Conclusion: The overall total prevalence of amphetamine abuse in Aseer region is 16.01%, while the cannabis abuse prevalence is 9.92%. The predominant drug used among study groups is amphetamine. The age and the marital status significantly correlate with the type of the drug; (if its amphetamine or cannabis or both), that the younger and single mostly likely use amphetamine. National policies and active programs, in coordination with public and private institutions, are required to face this phenomenon.


Mosleh Mohammed Abomughaid, Eltayeb Mohamed Ahmed Tayrab, Abdullah Ahmed Alghamdi

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