Objective: To describe the use of marijuana and alcohol among Arabic- and Vietnamese-speaking senior school students compared with English-speaking background senior school students in Sydney Australia. Method: A quantitative survey of 2573 school students attending Years 10 and 11 from 12 high schools with a high Vietnamese and Arabic population was conducted in Sydney in 1998. Self-reported marijuana use, school and cultural background information was collected. Results: Students from an English-speaking background, both males and females, had almost double the prevalence of marijuana use (once or more) during their lifetime (48.3 and 43.6%), the 12 months (40.9 and 36.3%) and 1 month prior to survey administration (23.1 and 13.4%) than the group with the second highest frequency of use (students of European and other backgrounds). Female Vietnamese (7.3% lifetime use) and Arabic students (8.6% lifetime use) had the lowest marijuana use rates, which were less than half that of male Vietnamese (23.5% lifetime use.) and Arabic students (28% lifetime use.). A similar pattern was found for three types of alcohol use. Spending three or more evenings a week out with friends was associated with higher alcohol use for Vietnamese students (relative risk ratio of 2.76). Conclusions: These results confirm lower marijuana and alcohol use among students from Vietnamese- and Arabic- speaking backgrounds compared with students from an English-speaking background. Harm minimization strategies may be learned from some migrant communities.
- Migrant research