Methods: An exploratory-descriptive design was used to conduct a needs assessment to subsidize the development of a health promotion program, based on the description of the drug use pattern among students, the identification of risk and protection factors, as well as the verification of the bonds with the school and the meanings of being an EJA student. We used a standardized questionnaire for school surveys in Brazil. The sample was defined by conglomerate of students present on the day of application in the classroom and who agreed to participate. The data was analyzed by SPSS ® Software through descriptive and inferential statistical analyzes. 378 students replied to the instrument, being 60% male, 48% black or brown, 50% between 15 and 17 years old, and 47% of low income.
Results: Data on alcohol use in the past year (71%) and in the past month (57%) are close to other Brazilian surveys on drug use among students, such as CEBRID. However, data on marijuana use in the past year (37%) and in the past month (30%) are higher than those reported by the CEBRID in 2010, according to which the past year use between 16-18 years old in Florianópolis was 22.5% (year), demonstrating that EJA students have a higher risk pattern than regular school students for marijuana use. Participants answered affirmatively about their intention to continue their studies and complete high school (79%) with no significant difference between those who did or did not use marijuana. Moreover 59% responded that they really like to study at EJA, also no significant difference between marijuana users and non-users.
Conclusion: The results above have confirmed the need to develop a health promotion program with the goal of strengthening students’ life projects, as they clearly showed the desire for continuity of studies and changes in their lives, but also emphasized the risk conditions and social vulnerability which they live in. Such program aims at strengthening future perspectives and self-efficacy as a factor to increase engagement in educational tasks and protection against the abuse of marijuana and other illicit drugs. At the moment, the team is designing the logical model for the program.