Research Article - Journal of Psychology and Cognition (2019) Volume 4, Issue 2
Prevalence and patterns of substance use among first year students in a Public University in Kenya.
Background: Use of alcohol and psychoactive substances has continued to rise globally. The age at which children start experimenting with alcohol and substances of abuse has also dropped drastically over the years. This use of alcohol and substances of abuse during adolescence and early adulthood is a serious public health problem in many developing countries such as Kenya. It leads to considerable harm to the individuals, families and societies as a whole. This study determines the prevalence and patterns of alcohol and substance use at the entry to the University of Nairobi which can be considered as a good representation of the drug use situation in Kenyan universities and a microcosm of the national youths’ drug use outlook. It will help the universities’ management to institute appropriate intervention, for prevention and management of alcohol and substance use among its students. It will also help inform policies and interventions to reverse the rising tide of drug abuse amongst the youths.
Methods: A cross sectional study randomly sampled first year students (n=406;50.74% male) in two campuses of the University of Nairobi. Self-administered questionnaires were used to measure their knowledge, attitudes and use/abuse of psychoactive substances. The data obtained was analysed using inferential statistics and results were presented in a graphical form.
Results: 25.37% of the students had used a psychoactive substance in their lifetime. Alcohol was the most used drug having been consumed by 21.92% of the sampled students. Cannabis was consumed by 8.13%whereas tobacco was consumed by 6.91% of the students.
Conclusion: Majority (74.63%) of university students, have not used alcohol and psychoactive substances by the time they join the university. This is good news for the alcohol and drug abuse control program because it shows that the use prevalence is still low enough to be reversed. For the one-quarter who have experimented with psychoactive substances intervention strategies which to rehabilitate them should be instituted as strategies to prevent those who have not started use/abuse from starting are also put in place.