The epidemiology of substance use among street children in resource-constrained settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Article first published online: 12 JUL 2013
© 2013 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 108, Issue 10, pages 1722–1733, October 2013
How to Cite
Embleton, L., Mwangi, A., Vreeman, R., Ayuku, D. and Braitstein, P. (2013), The epidemiology of substance use among street children in resource-constrained settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction, 108: 1722–1733. doi: 10.1111/add.12252
- Issue published online: 13 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 12 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 11 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 30 OCT 2012
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Grant Number: R01HD060478
- Homeless youth;
- resource-constrained settings;
- street children;
- substance use;
- systematic review;
- volatile solvent use
To compile and analyze critically the literature published on street children and substance use in resource-constrained settings.
We searched the literature systematically and used meta-analytical procedures to synthesize literature that met the review's inclusion criteria. Pooled-prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using the random-effects model for life-time substance use by geographical region as well as by type of substance used.
Fifty studies from 22 countries were included into the review. Meta-analysis of combined life-time substance use from 27 studies yielded an overall drug use pooled-prevalence estimate of 60% (95% CI = 51–69%). Studies from 14 countries contributed to an overall pooled prevalence for street children's reported inhalant use of 47% (95% CI = 36–58%). This review reveals significant gaps in the literature, including a dearth of data on physical and mental health outcomes, HIV and mortality in association with street children's substance use.
Street children from resource-constrained settings reported high life-time substance use. Inhalants are the predominant substances used, followed by tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.