Sudanese Medical Students’ Perceptions of Psychoactive Substance Use

Document Type : Original Article


1 Mental Health Hospital, Taif, Saudi Arabia

2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan AND Abha Psychiatric Hospital, Saudi Arabia


Background: Psychoactive substance use is a significant problem and the perception of physicians and
medical students for this problem is important since it may affect their behavior regarding managing patients
who suffer from substance-related problems. The objective of this study was to examine the perception of
Sudanese medical students regarding psychoactive substance use and its possible associations with
sociodemographic factors.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out at a private Sudanese medical school in Khartoum,
Sudan. A self-reporting questionnaire was distributed to all consenting students and data were analyzed
using SPSS software. Chi-square test was used to analyze the associations between different factors.
Findings: Three hundred and seventeen students participated in the study, with response rate = 75.5%.
Among them, 113 (35.9%) were men. The mean and standard deviation (SD) of age was 21.5 ± 4.2 years. All
students knew alcohol and 261 students (88.5%) reported having knowledge about cannabis. Knowledge
about cannabis, cocaine, and heroin was more prevalent among female students. Most of the students
disagreed with the behavior of substance use, e.g., 94.2% in the case of alcohol. Most students reported that it
would be difficult - or even impossible - for them to use psychoactive substances.
Conclusion: Most of the students perceived use of psychoactive substances to be associated with moderate to
severe risk. Female gender and studying secondary school in Sudan were associated with perceiving more
risk. Sudanese students' perception of psychoactive substance use seems to be favorable but still increasing
awareness is recommended