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Nonmedical Use of Stimulants Among Students in Jordan: A Nationwide Study

Objectives: Nonmedical use (NMU) of stimulants is an increasingly common phenomenon worldwide. Motivated by enhancing academic performance, peer pressure, and seeking pleasure, students in the Middle East are thought to be a high-risk population. This is especially important in timeswhen the political instability in the region facilitates the production and trafficking of such substances. This study aimed to unveil the burden of NMU of stimulants and examine associated correlates among senior high school and university students in Jordan.

Methods: We describe a cross-sectional study of senior high school and university students in Jordan assessing NMU of stimulants. Data were collected between January and April of 2022 through a survey, which was distributed online leading to a google forms page. The survey queried sociodemographic characteristics, history ofNMU of stimulants, use of other illicit substances, attitudes toward NMU of stimulants, as well as a mental health assessment.

Results: A total of 8739 students completed the survey (mean age of 20.40 ± 2.45 years), of which 5.1% reported a lifetime NMU of stimulants. Fenethylline (Captagon) was the most widely reported stimulant (2.6%). Living in the southern region, being diagnosed with a personality disorder, and using concomitant illicit substances were associated with the NMU of stimulants.

Conclusions: The NMU of CNS stimulants, especially fenethylline, is prevalent in Jordan. More surveillance ought to be heeded toward the southern borders of Jordan. Students who use stimulants for academic reasons must be made aware of the potential consequences of the NMU of stimulants.

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