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Journal Article


Chaouali N, Moslah B, Salem KB, Amira D, Hedhili A, Salah NB. Pan. Afr. Med. J. 2021; 38: e20.


(Copyright © 2021, African Field Epidemiology Network)






INTRODUCTION: according to the latest World Drug Report, 271 million people worldwide (5.5% of the global population) aged 15-64 years are drug users. Drug addiction and trafficking became an urgent public health problem that affects human health and social life. A cross-sectional study was conducted from January 2016 to December 2018, to identify the socio-demographic profile of drug users captured by the anti-narcotics squad in North of Tunisia (North African country) and to type, through toxicological analysis, the nature of the substances consumed.

METHODS: data were collected from expertise files of 11170 suspected drug users. Fresh urine samples were collected from suspected drugs users and submitted in the toxicology laboratory of the center for Urgent Medical Assistance (Tunis) for forensic urinalysis. Drugs screening was carried out by immunochemical methods. Positive samples were analyzed with gas chromatography coupled to mass selective detector (GC-MS) for confirmation.

RESULTS: the investigation revealed that drug users were mainly males 97.4% (sex ratio 37), the median age was 29 ± 7.91 years, 91.3% were singles and 79% were daily workers. On a total of 11170 urine samples screened, 5 409 (48.4%) were positives for illicit drugs. The prevalence of positive samples was 55.4% in 2016; 50.45% in 2017 and 40.8% in 2018. Cannabis was the most widely consumed drug (95%), followed by Benzodiazepines (1.2%), Buprenorphine (1%), cocaine (0.95%), MDMA (0.24%) and opiates (0.13%). Polydrug abuse was observed in 79 specimens (1.5%).

CONCLUSION: this study provides an overview of the illicit drug consumption in the north of Tunisia (knowing that nowadays epidemiological data are almost same since 2016) in order to set up an effective policy to fight against drugs and addictive behaviors and to provide health professionals with the epidemiological elements necessary for better medical care of drug users.

Language: en


Prevalence; cannabis; cocaine; Tunisia; urinalysis


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