Areca use among adolescents in Yap and Pohnpei, the Federated States of Micronesia
1 Northwest Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, University of Washington, Box 357475, Seattle, WA, USA
2 Wa'ab Community Health Center, Colonia, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia
3 Pohnpei State Hospital, Kolonia, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
Harm Reduction Journal 2013, 10:26 doi:10.1186/1477-7517-10-26Published: 17 October 2013
Areca (Betel Nut) is the fourth most commonly used psychoactive drug throughout the world and is legal in U.S. It is carcinogenic. Within a health program in the Federated States of Micronesia we surveyed use among adolescents.
One hundred 7th and 8th graders in Yap and Pohnpei were surveyed and clinical oral examinations conducted. The questionnaire included items on Areca: age first used Areca, whether peers or family members used Areca, frequency of use, whether tobacco was used, and source of Areca. Questions also assessed anxiety and depression. Two scales assessed getting along with other kids and adaptation to school.
61.5-71.4% of adolescents had ever used Areca and 54.7-68.6% used it at least once in the last month.
Most adolescents surveyed in Yap and Pohnpei used Areca, which may place these youth at increased risk for cancer and health disparities.