Hawaii Cannabis logo


Although a number of management strategies are available for adolescent substance abusers, the outcomes are limited due to high drop out. The factors related to drop out in adolescent substance users, especially in low and middle income countries (LAMIC) have been sparsely studied.


To study the personal, family and clinical variables related to immediate drop out in adolescent substance abusers.


A retrospective outpatient chart review was carried out for adolescent substance abusers aged 12-19 years from January 2012 to December 2014.


Of the 89 patients, 57 (64%) dropped out immediately. The majority of adolescent substance users were >17 years (85%), having some education (90%), belonging to a joint family (76%), having good family support (66%). Drop out was higher in those with later onset and less duration of substance abuse (3.42 vs. 2.36, p=0.014), not currently employed/attending school (OR=2.65, 95% CI=1.04-6.70), not having a psychiatric comorbidity, using a single substance and abusing cannabis. Factors like school drop out, background, family type and support and the relationship to the accompanying person were not associated with immediate drop out.


Later onset, lesser duration of substance use, not currently employed/attending school, absence of psychiatric illness and using cannabis were associated with drop out from outpatient treatment. These factors must be thoroughly addressed in substance abuse interventions.