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Drug Addiction and Substance Use Among the Dalit Married Adolescent Girls in Bangladesh: a Cross-Sectional Survey
Md. Imdadul Haque, ABM Alauddin Chowdhury, Abu Naser Zafar Ullah, Md. Golam Dostogir Harun, Tasnim Akter, Varoti Rani,

Dalits are referred to “shattered,” “outcasts,” and socially marginalized community in Bangladesh. In particular, Dalit adolescent girls are the most vulnerable owing to their caste and gender. Prior studies have looked at the prevalence and effects of drug addiction among the youths in mainstream population, but the Dalit adolescents were excluded from the samples. The study aimed to investigate the prevalence of drug addiction and substance use among the Dalit married adolescent girls (MAGs), and to identify the significant predictors associated with this addiction. A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 300 MAGs in the Dalit community. Involving systematic random sampling, participants were selected from both urban and rural settings located in Dhaka and Gaibandha districts. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to explore the significant factors associated with drug addiction. The prevalence of drug addiction was 11.3% among married Dalit adolescent girls. Multivariate analysis identified that participants’ habit of smoking (AOR=5.210, 95% CI=2.413–11.250), participant’s husband’s habit of smoking (AOR=10.415, 95% CI=3.911–27.739), and habit of using alcohol/highly risky substances (AOR=19.030, 95% CI=6.481–55.875) were significant associated with drug addiction. An alarming proportion of Dalit adolescent girls were recorded to be habituated in various forms of drugs use. Therefore, immediate policy measures focusing intensive campaigns, targeted counseling, and health education programs need to design to get over the risky health behaviors.

Journal or Conference Name
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Publication Year