Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs in the School Population of Sao Tome and Principe


  • Isabel De Santiago Comunicação em Saúde Pública. Instituto de Medicina Preventiva e Saúde Pública. Faculdade de Medicina. Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa.
  • Ruy Ribeiro Laboratório de Biomatemática. Instituto de Medicina Preventiva e Saúde Pública. Faculdade de Medicina. Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa.
  • Leonor Bacelar Nicolau Economia da Saúde. Instituto de Medicina Preventiva e Saúde Pública. Faculdade de Medicina. Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa.
  • Rui Tato Marinho Serviço de Gastrenterologia e Hepatologia. Hospital Universitário de Santa Maria. Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Norte. Lisboa. Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Faculdade de Medicina. Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa.
  • José Pereira-Miguel Medicina Preventiva. Instituto de Medicina Preventiva e Saúde Pública. Faculdade de Medicina. Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa.



Adolescent Behavior, Atlantic Islands, Alcohol Drinking, Drug Users, Illicit Drugs, Students


Introduction: In Sao Tome and Principe there are no studies on alcohol and drug use among students, who could be potential allies in preventive interventions. The objectives of the present study are 1) to determine the frequency of alcohol and drug consumption in the school population, and 2) to identify the main characteristics associated with this behaviour.
Material and Methods: We applied a biographical, demographic and socioeconomic questionnaire on the use of licit and illicit substances to a sample of 2064 students. Demographic and social characteristics are presented based on observed frequencies and comparisons between groups were made using chi-square tests. Significance was assessed at α = 0.05.
Results: More than half of the students reported consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime, and 32% consumed in the last 30 days. Older students were more likely to consume alcohol (p < 0.0001), but even in students under 16 years, 17% consumed in the last 30 days. We also found that 7% consumed one or more times per week in the last 30 days. The reasons presented for frequent consumption were different for boys (“participation in their group of friends”) and girls (“decrease anxiety”) (p = 0.005). Less than 1% of respondents admitted to having used marijuana, cocaine, crack or ecstasy.
Discussion: Despite some limitations, such as self-reporting, we provide a first overview showing high consumption of alcohol by young people and the existence of illegal drugs circulating in the schools.
Conclusion: It is urgent to implement preventive interventions, namely in the context of public health communication.


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Author Biography

Isabel De Santiago, Comunicação em Saúde Pública. Instituto de Medicina Preventiva e Saúde Pública. Faculdade de Medicina. Universidade de Lisboa. Lisboa.

Isabel DE SANTIAGO Biography She was born in Sao Tome and Principe and lives in Lisbon, Portugal. She has both nationalities. She is mother of Francisca (19) Constança (18) and Joaquim (15): the most important challenge in her life. Author of 3 different poetry (Jaca em Escamas and Fruta-Pão Mulher) and pictures book (Rostos de São Tomé e Príncipe) in 2 languages: portuguese and forro (dialect of Sao Tome and Principe). All The proceeds from the sale of books reverted in full to the "Casa dos Pequeninos" (House of the Little Ones) under Direction of CARITAS Diocesana de STP, leaded by the Bishop of Sao Tome and Príncipe.

She is Invited Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FML), Portugal, in the Integrated Master’s in Medicine, in the scientific field of Health Communication, and Student of the doctoral program by CAML as researcher in Health Communication and assistant invited by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Master of Medicine - has developed scientific activity between academia, IMP & SP-FMUL - ISAMB - RG1 - RL - Environment, Family, health & Society (2nd Year – ongoing with scientific articles/papers publication).

She has authored many Health Communication plans for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, in Portugal, recently: (on going) MINUTO AZUL – Healthy Food on the Radio, Edutainment sciences with and for children of primary Schools, promoted by TSF Radio and with High Sponsorship of President of Portuguese Republic, especially for Portuguese-Speaking African Countries in the last few years, such as: Angola – infectious diseases, Cape-Verde: non communicable diseases (NCD), Guinea-Bissau: Ebola Virus (EV), Mozambique: Children under nutrition (and other diagnosis) and Sao Tome and Príncipe: research and preventive interventions on alcohol and drugs consumption in the school population. For several years, she worked in communication management, as a press and communication officer, planning and outlining creative strategies for health communication programs. She has experience as a journalist in TV and radio and is also a commentator on disease prevention and health promotion issues, especially crises and pandemics, for two of Portugal’s four TV channels, RTP1 and RTP2), as well as for a number of national radio stations. Sometimes she collaborates with the main Portuguese newspapers as well as with local newspapers and radio stations. She has a degree in International Relations, a post-graduation in Leadership from INSEAD, and a Master’s Degree in Crisis Communication from the Complutense University of Madrid, and has also done specific training in complementary fields of communication such as Vocal Technique, Personal Marketing, Marketing and Communication and Innovation Intelligence. Isabel De Santiago is a persistent, resilient and creative person, endowed with a sense of humour and balanced initiative and dedication. Her intellectual curiosity, creativity and professional rigor, associated with her expertise and varied knowledge, have led her to her current position in the area of world health, specializing in Health Communication and Health Information (literacy) – HC&HI, and aiming to empower different (ages) of target audiences. Specialties: Crisis Communication and Health Communication. Method: proactive planning, with specific messages (private or public) is how to approach media interviews or communicate health prevention messages. The method should be intense, one-on-one or in small groups, videotapes; simulated media interview sessions and mock crisis situations. At FML, we prepare training handbooks, video and audio materials; interview prep software and training critique for different scientific fields of health.

October to December 1999thDecember 2002 Portuguese Institute on Drugs and Drugs Addiction, Lisbon, Public Institute - Secretary of State for the  Ministers Council Presidency)

Press and Communication Advisor. Author of the campaign on drugs primary prevention, in a straight articulation with mass media, started on the 17ª Journey of the Football National Championship. Made by un agreement with the Portuguese football national League. The national prevention campaign was adapted and followed by others sports modalities like Rugby, Basketball, handball, etc.).

Communication Advisor for all primary prevention projects on drugs and drugs addiction and Risk reduction policy and risk minimization (Hepatitis; AIDS/HIV, STD, etc).

Communication Advisor for the legal changing models in order to decriminalization of the Consumption and no penalty of the traffic by the addicts, implemented by the Drugs Addiction Disquisition Commission (Comissões de Dissuasão da Toxicodependência). The advisor process was conducted near all the Portuguese and international mass media, because it was the first country implementing this policy.

Press Advisor for the National Coordination of Projecto Vida.




How to Cite

De Santiago I, Ribeiro R, Nicolau LB, Marinho RT, Pereira-Miguel J. Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs in the School Population of Sao Tome and Principe. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2020 Apr. 1 [cited 2024 May 25];33(4):237-45. Available from: