This epidemiological study aimed to investigate illicit drug use by vocational high school night-class students in Taiwan to identify hypothesized proximal and distal factors associated with drug use patterns. Between September 2010 and January 2011, a randomized sample was drawn from 33 vocational high school night classes, enrolling 1079 students already employed outside campus. Subjects completed a validated self-reported questionnaire measuring proximal factors (biological, psychological, and behavioral) and distal factors (living with parents, parents' or siblings' use of legal substances, supervision by primary guardian, and perceived peer influence on drug use). Age, greater sensation-seeking behavior and legal substances use (i.e., tobacco and betel nuts) increased odds of being identified as experimental or regular users versus non-drug users. Higher rates of rule-breaking behavior were associated with increased odds of being identified as experimental users versus non-drug users. Among distal factors, only perceived peer influence on drug use was significantly associated with experimental and regular drug use. Proximal and distal factors were associated with drug use patterns among vocational high school night-class students. Influence factors identified may help vocational high school officials design effective illicit drug intervention programs for students with different drug use patterns.
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