Drug and alcohol use among the Bedouin of the Negev: Prevalence and psychosocial correlates Academic Article uri icon


  • The primary aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of drug and alcohol use among the Bedouin of the Negev. A representative sample of 821 adults and 440 adolescents were surveyed using the Arabic version of the Israeli National Epidemiological Questionnaire. Almost 14% of adult Bedouins used alcohol and 11.1% used illicit drugs during the past year, with rates higher among individuals living in government settlements than those living in unrecognized traditional villages. Among adolescents, 21.9% used alcohol and 20.4% used drugs over the past year, with rates higher for high school students than for school attritters. Drug use was positively associated with being male, having a tolerant attitude toward drug use, the perception that drugs were not dangerous, being secular, low family cohesion and either low or high family adaptability. These data suggest that drug use is prevalent among the Bedouin of the Negev, particularly among adolescents, who report using drugs such as narcotics, cocaine, and hallucinogens at rates 3 to 8 times greater than Israeli Jewish secular students. School-based and family-based prevention and treatment programs may be most effective for this population.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008