Background This study examined variation between users of ‘club’ and ‘hard’ drugs in Taiwan in terms of prevalence of use and demographics and psychosocial characteristics. Methods Data were derived from a survey of 17,837 Taiwanese civilians, aged 12–64 years, using stratified, multi-stage, random sampling. Participants completed a computer-assisted self-interview on tablet computers which covered use of legal substances, sedatives/hypnotics and prescription analgesics; use of illicit drugs/inhalants, risky sexual experiences; expectations of drugs; and psychological distress. Findings Approximately 1.29% of respondents reported ever using an illicit drug in their lifetime; prevalence estimates of club drugs (mainly ketamine, marijuana, and ecstasy) were slightly higher than hard drugs (mainly methamphetamine and heroin). Concurrent use of legal substances, particularly problematic use of alcohol and tobacco, as well as non-medical use of prescription drugs, were strong correlates of illicit drug use in general, with club drug use exhibiting an extremely strong association with alcohol use. Club drug users were demographically different from hard drug users, including in terms of their gender, age, and level of educational attainment. They were also more likely to be divorced or widowed, to report risky sexual partnerships and more depressive symptoms than hard drug users. Conclusions Our findings indicate drug type specific distinct psychosocial characteristics, which may warrant further attention in the design of treatment and intervention programs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Health Policy