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International Journal of Research in Social Sciences
Vol. 10 Issue 06, June 2020,
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The purpose of this study was to examine the causes and
consequences of the upsurge of drug abuse among
university students in Kenya. Studies indicate a blatant
abuse of drugs in alarming rates in spite of campaigns
against the menace by the government and other
stakeholders. This is affirmed by new studies by the
National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and
Drug Abuse which reveal a heightened rate of abuse and
addiction among the youth. The study reviewed current
literature in order to answer the research questions. It was
established that students abused drugs for various reasons
among them stress related, stimulating the central nervous
system, course load, stress, curiosity, peer pressure,
individual and family factors, parental misuse of drugs,
lack of knowledge, genetic factors, traumatic life events,
socio economic status and macro-environmental factors.
The abuse led to increases of problems related to their
well-being and health, increased risk of injury and
premature death from interpersonal violence, road
accidents, hepatitis B and C, risky sexual behaviors,
unintended pregnancies, diseases such as acquired
immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) as well as severe
academic problems. The study concludes that prevention
of substance abuse among students requires awareness of
characteristics that place them at risk and targeting risk
factors that are modifiable to save the young generation.
Finally, the study recommends a further research to be
carried out to determine realistic solutions to mitigate the
destructive outcomes of drug and substance abuse among
Drug Abuse
Peer Influence
University Students
Copyright © 2020 International Journals of
Multidisciplinary Research Academy.All rights reserved.
Author correspondence:
Dr. Alice Masese
Department of Education Foundations
The University of Nairobi
College of Education, Kikuyu Campus, Nairobi - Kenya
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1.1 Introduction
Drug abuse is one of the world’s most pressing challenges threatening people of
every age, socio-economic background, geographic region, educational level, and
ethnic or racial identity. According to Vinluan (2005), drug abuse in our society is
not new. This implies that it is long-established. The most startling global trends
that have emerged show increased availability and variety of drugs and the
prevalence of drug abuse among the youth. Students manifest susceptibility to drug
abuse. Because of their naivety and tender age, they are yet to develop the forte to
resist the pleasure and the ecstasy which the dangerous drugs offer. Their defense
mechanism against the detrimental impact of drugs is still insufficient (Caday,
2017). They have yet to uphold value and internalize the behavioral norms which
could help them cope with the social and personal problems within the framework
of socially, legally, and morally acceptable standards.
The Kenya vision 2030 envisions a healthy population free from the impact of
drugs through reduction and prevalence in order to attain the highest possible level
of physical, social and mental health. As a developing country, Kenya is currently
experiencing major changes at different economic, political and cultural levels.
Along with all these changes, the population is growing, and the number of young
people is increasing. New studies by NACADA show a high prevalence of
addiction to drugs and risky behaviors in the Kenyan youth population. Although
massive resources are dedicated to preventing its spread, it is emerging that there is
blatant abuse of drugs among students in universities.
A rapid situation analysis carried out by NACADA (2012) in all the provinces of
Kenya established that 27% of young people including students who have ever
abused drugs had friends who had taken similar drugs. While launching the second
national conference on Drug and Substance Abuse: A Call for Action, organized by
NACADA in 2013, to formulate measures to curb drug abuse; the President of
Kenya, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta directed the National Treasury to allocate more
resources for prevention and control of alcohol and drug abuse. In addition, the
treasury was advised to seek innovative ways of securing funding to increase
NACADA’s resource base in the fight against drug and substance abuse in the
country, particularly among the young people both in and out of learning
institutions (Standard Newspaper, June, 2014). In spite of the measures taken by
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the government to curb drug abuse, the practice is still widespread in institutions of
higher learning.
1.2 Literature Review:
In the Philippines, research has shown that drug abuse is on the rise, and in
particular it is increasing among young people. Drug abuse patterns among youth
change rapidly with different drugs becoming popular. Drug abuse has also
expanded to a younger and wider segment of the youth population. Millions of
Filipino youths nationwide are using prohibited drugs. The drug abusers are mostly
adolescents ranging from 17 to 28 years of age. This is the age at which the youth
are expected to be in higher institutions of learning. Majority of them were males
with a ratio of 12:1 compared to females (Caday, 2017).
The Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS 2011) noted that the
problem of alcohol and drug abuse is dramatically increasing. According to the
survey, different alcohols, chewing Khat and smoking cigarette are widely
practiced among high school, college and university students in Ethiopia.
Adolescent Alcohol and other drug (khat and cigarette) abuse may involve
recreational benefits; such as to have fun, social conformity, mood enhancement
and coping with stress (Kebede 2002). This is an indicator of a grim picture of
abuse of drugs by the youth in Ethiopia. Yet another research done among
University students in Ethiopia found that alcohol was the most abused substance,
but there was little evidence available about the scale of substance use in the
population (Fekadu, Atalay & Charlotte, 2007). It is important to note that Wakgari
and Aklilu (2011) had earlier found that (31%) of medical students of Addis Ababa
University from first year to internship were life-time users of alcohol and (22%)
reported drinking alcohol in the past year.
In South Africa, a study among university students found that (75%) of respondents
abused alcohol and (50%) moderate to heavy drinkers were young men (Nkhoma &
Maforah, 1994). In Malawi, the prevalence of alcohol abuses among university
students showed that (54.1%) were males and 16.5% were females (Zverev, 2008).
Stafstrom & Agarth (2012) found out that almost half of the students in Mbarara
University in Uganda were current alcohol users, and a quarter of them had
engaged in heavy episodic drinking.
Alcohol abuse in the institutions of higher learning in Kenya threatens the
achievement of vision 2030 and holistic wellbeing (GOK, 2012). According to
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NACADA, (2007), the practice of alcohol abuse has developed to a cultural view
and tradition rooted in every level of university environment and that practice is
handed down through cohorts of alcohol abusers to strengthen students' expectation
that alcohol is a necessary factor for social success.
The practice of drug abuse seems to stem right from secondary school level to the
university. A study by the Great Lakes University, Kisumu found in 2009 that 58
percent of the secondary school students in Kisumu District had consumed alcohol
at some point in their lives (Daily Nation, June 2, 2009). The study interviewed 458
students from nine secondary schools in Kisumu and concluded that use of drugs
including alcohol, tobacco, khat, cannabis and cocaine had risen drastically in the
previous decade.
In respect to the above, the public has been exposed to a growing problem
underage boys and girls engaging in use of drugs and alcohol. In August 2017, 45
students found using bhang, alcohol and cigarettes were arrested in Nyeri as they
were travelling in a Matatu to Nairobi when schools closed down for mid-term
holidays. Though there was outrage, it soon died to be revived again by two
disturbing cases in October same year. The first was in Eldoret town, where 500
children and teenagers were arrested in a disco and were also found to be smoking
bhang, drinking alcohol and chewing miraa. Hardly two weeks later, 200 children
were arrested in a disco in Nairobi and they were also found smoking bhang
(marijuana) and drinking alcohol. In all these cases the young boys and girls were
engaging in sexual intercourse as part of the ―fun‖. If it was not for the alarm raised
by the community these cases would have gone unnoticed. This means that the
youth start abusing drugs while in secondary school and the vice is sustained when
they join higher institutions of learning. According to a national survey on the
Rapid Situation Assessment of Drug and Substance Abuse in Kenya (2012),
(11.7%) of youth aged 15-24 are current users of alcohol, (6.2%) tobacco, (4.7%)
miraa and (1.5%) cannabis. Odek-Ogunde & Pande-Leak (1999) in a study reported
a high rate of alcohol abuse among students at a Kenyan private university at
While addressing the Third Global Youth Employment Summit 2006, His
Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki (13 September, 2006), reported that the youth today
are facing many challenges that are hindering them from the full realization of their
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aspirations. These include drug and alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS. If the above
scenario is anything to go by, then it is clear that drug abuse is a threat to the
general public as well as the youth in Kenyan universities.
A baseline survey in 17 counties on alcohol and drug abuse conducted by the
National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA)
in 2012 showed a high use of drugs and alcohol by the youth with alcohol the most
abused and prescription drugs the most accessible. Is there a crisis among Kenyan
youth? Do these three instances highlight a growing problem amongst our youth?
Do the young boys and girls realize the dangers in their behaviors’ to their health
and wellbeing? Why is there an upsurge in the use of drugs? These are the
questions that motivated this study.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
According to the university’s’ core mission statements, universities seek to provide
students with a safe, healthy learning environment. However, University students in
Kenya manifest susceptibility to drug abuse thereby undermining the core objective
which is imparting knowledge. Available statistics paint a grim picture of the situation
on the ground. Because of their immaturity and tender age, the students have yet to
develop the power to repel the pleasure and the ecstasy which the dangerous drugs
offer. Their defense mechanism against damaging influence of drugs is still inadequate.
Law enforcement activities have been ineffective in curbing the prevalent drug abuse
because its root causes have not been properly addressed. In response to this problem,
this study proposes to investigate the causes of drug abuse as a framework in re-
aligning the prevention and rehabilitation programs to ensure its effectiveness with the
crucial aim to improve the overall life of students.
1.4 Research Questions
i) What is the cause of the upsurge in the use of drugs among university
ii) What are the consequences of drug abuse among students in universities?
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1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will help University administration to better understand the current
situation and consequently make adjustments to address the factors that contribute
to drug abuse in Universities. It’s important to note that failure to address this
problem not only threatens the academic achievement and wellness of the students
but also hinders the economic, political and social development of the country and
the attainment of vision 2030 as well.
1.6 Research Design
This study employed document analysis from empirical studies related to the topic
with a view of answering the research questions. The study relied heavily on
secondary data.
1.7 Results and Discussion
This section presents the results and discussion of the study. Generally, as indicated
by the findings of different scholars, the followings are major causes why
university students in particular use alcohol and drugs: The reasons why university
students use alcohol and drugs (mainly drinking alcohol, chewing Khat and
smoking cigarette) is almost similar to why other people do so. The common causes
are; peer pressure, social factors, academic adjustment related factors,
psychological factors and environmental factors as found by the findings of
different studies hence they will be discussed in detail.
1.7.1 Stimulating the Central Nervous System:
Students use alcohol and drugs as a way of either depressing or stimulating the
central nervous system, which seems to provide people with predictable and
effective ways to change how they feel. Most students believe that such stimulation
activates their brain which in return helps them to study hard and overcome
teaching and learning process loads and meet deadlines (Velleman, 2005). Often
students choose to drink alcohol and/or use drugs that help them in some way, such
as to increase pleasure or to decrease emotional or physical pain or to gain a sense
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of belonging socially as a response to high level of peer pressure in their campus
life according to Brook J S et al., (1998).
1.7.2 Individual and Family Factors:
According to (Velleman RD, Templeton LJ, Copello AG 2005), the family has
been described as the single most influential child hood factor in buffering the child
and in shaping later adaptation. The influences of the family on adolescent drug
abuse are fundamentally important, but complex. Factors about the quality and
consistency of family management, family communication, family relationships
and parental role modeling have been consistently identified as predictive of
alcohol and drug abuse, Brook JS, Morojele NK, Pahl K, Brooks DW (2004).
Specific family factors include; ineffective parental family management techniques;
for example, lack of discipline/inconsistent discipline and negative communication
patterns Brooks JS et al., (2004).
In yet another finding, a cross-sectional study with a sample of 362 university
students who were selected using self-weighted stratified random sampling was
carried out at the Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Northwest Iran. The aim
of the research was to evaluate the causes of drug abuse among youth according to
students’ views. According to the subjects’ views, individual and family factors
were the most important factors of drug abuse compared to social,
pharmacological, and physiological ones. Among effective individual factors,
strategies for emotional stress, loneliness and anxiety, curiosity, and rapid
irritability were emphasized by the students. Some studies have confirmed the
relationship between individual factors like depressive mood and substance use
Brook JS et al., (1998).
1.7.3 Parental Misuse of Drugs:
The students also perceived that parental misuse of drugs and parental
disagreements, as family factors, had a major role in promoting drug abuse among
youths. The results of one study by Velleman et al., (2005) confirmed this finding
in the current research.
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1.7.4 Stress:
Another trigger is the additional stress college student’s experience. Exams, new
social roles, and tuition fees can cause a lot of troubles and negative thoughts. One
of the easiest ways to forget and relief the negativity is to use drugs. Students admit
taking stimulants only to improve their academic performance.
1.7.5 Course Load:
More students than ever are taking stimulants, such as Adderall, to help them stay
awake long enough to study or complete assignments by their due dates. These
prescription drugs are obtained without a reasonable recommendation. Students
facing the high demands of coursework, part-time jobs, placements, social
responsibilities and more, many turn to drugs as a way to manage.
1.7.6 Curiosity:
College students are exploring many new aspects of their lives in personal and
professional realms. It’s not uncommon for that self-exploration to dip into drug
experimentation. College exposes students to a new environment, they are away
from their families and friends, and they have new responsibilities. Therefore, they
have to fit. All the parties organized in college are something that new students feel
they ought to follow. Additionally, the best way to fit is to be like the rest drunk
and high. Drugs are also seen as a way to experiment something everyone talks
about and bans and to enjoy weird realities.
1.7.7 Peer Pressure:
According to the World Drug Report (2014), drug users like other people, seek
approval for their behavior from their peers whom they attempt to convince to join
their habit as a way of seeking acceptance. That notion is confirmed by studies
carried out by Maithya (2012) and Chesang (2013) on drug abuse among young
people. The results showed that there is a significant relationship between the
subjects’ drug-using behavior and the involvement of their friends in drugs.
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Agcaoili (2005) underscores the fact that the influence of peer pressures cannot be
underestimated as one among the causes of drug abuse. University students are
surrounded by other people experimenting with recreational and performance-
enhancing drugs and are more likely to try these substances for themselves. Often,
the characteristic of this new environment is strong peer pressure. Studies also
show that the biggest problem is the free time college students have. In addition to
some individual and family factors, participants emphasized the impact of peers (as
a social factor) in increasing the likelihood of drug abuse among youths. The results
are in accordance with (Brook JS, Morojele NK, Pahl K, & Brook DW (2006),
whose study found out that peer influences play an important role in illegal drug
use among South African adolescents. Accordingly, the youth and particularly
students are especially vulnerable to the vice owing to peer pressure, media
influence, poor guidance and role modeling (Muchemi, 2013).
1.7.8 Lack of Knowledge:
A study conducted by (O’Malley, P. M. & Johnston, L. D (2002), to determine the
epidemiology of alcohol and other drug use among American college students
indicated that, alcohol and drug abuse have been attributed to a lack of proper
knowledge regarding the risks associated with such use. Adolescents are more
likely to start drinking alcohol and abuse drugs/substances or other illicit drugs if
they believed that casual use of the specific drugs is not harmful.
1.7.9 Genetic Factors:
While the environment a person grows up in, along with a person's behavior,
influences whether he or she becomes addicted to drugs, genetics plays a key role
as well. Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for 40 to 60 percent of a
person's vulnerability to addiction. The findings of different research conducted on
drug use support the view that genetics play a significant role in the development of
alcohol and drug-use problems in some individuals, Meressa, K. Mossie A. &
Gelaw, Y, (2009). A major finding about the genetics of drug addiction was
reported in 2004 by investigators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke
University Medical Center. The scientists were able to detect a precise protein
PSD-95that had a connotation both to drug obsession and to learning and
memory. Other research findings by A. Fekadu, A. Atalay, A & Charlotte, H
(2007), reveal that genetic factors are influential in the transition of drug use from
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parents to children. Baron, (2000) found out that children of parents using drugs are
the highest risk group of children to become alcohol and drug abusers due to both
genetic and family setting factors. In view of the above, sustained study of genetic
factors in drug addiction can provide new ways for understanding the malady of
drug addiction, and can lead to new remedies for inhibiting and handling it.
1.7.10 Traumatic Life Events:
According to Martens, M. O’Connor, K & Beck, N (2006), children who have
experienced traumatic life events (E.g., sexual, emotional or physical abuse; neglect
or other) are at a high risk of harmful outcomes such as illicit drug use and
delinquent/criminal behavior, and self-destructive and suicidal behavior. When
students are physically and/or sexual maltreated, they may suffer from an
abnormally poor self-image that negatively affects subsequent socialization and to
feel that the world is a generally unsafe place. Drugs are used to deal directly with
the emotional pain of the abuse or with the subsequent self-derogation (children
who have suffered physical abuse often feel that they deserved the punishment), as
stated by Martens, M. O’Connor, K & Beck, N (2012).
1.7.11 Socio-economic Status:
There are different findings that attribute drug abuse to environmental influences
such as socio -economic status, which encompasses both social factors and
economic factors. It is also suggested that socio-economic status (for example,
living in a deprived neighborhood, low income level) is an important risk factor for
problematic behaviors, including alcohol and drug abuse, WHO (2010).
1.7.12 Macro-environmental Factors:
Macro-environmental factors that influence alcohol and drug abuse include
advertising, legislation and law enforcement and the availability of drugs Central
Statistical Agency and ORC Macro (2011). The high prevalence of alcohol and
drug use in college and university students is mostly related to the availability of
such drug surrounding the campus compound. Students can easily get alcohols
and/or drugs of their interest without much effort in front of their campus. Another
aspect of the macro-environment is society according to O’Malley, P. M. &
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Johnston, L. D (2002). They assert that social and psychological problems among
adolescents are caused by rapid changes in society, increases in family conflict and
breakdown, increase in poverty, high youth unemployment, soaring youth
homelessness and growing education pressures.
1.8 Major Consequences of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
This study also sought to determine the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse on
the students. The results are discussed in this section.
1.8.1 Influence on Academics:
Among others, the following were found to be the major consequences of alcohol
and drug abuse that university and college students face. Maithya et al., (2015)
sought to establish the general trend of drug and substance abuse among students in
technical institutions which are institutions of higher learning and effects on
academic participation. The findings reveal that students who use drugs and other
substances experience a myriad of academic progression problems. Most of the
respondents in the study stated that poor academic performance was the main
problem that bedevils students’ who abuse drugs and substances. Repeating a year
of study, warning to improve on academics, and deferral of studies were also cited.
Findings by Didenko & Pankratz (2007) also show that, declining grades,
absenteeism from class/other activities, and increased potential for dropping out of
school/university are problems associated with adolescent Alcohol and drug abuse
Additionally, low level of commitment to education and higher absence rates
appear to be related to Alcohol and drug use among adolescents in university and
college. A. Fekadu, A. Atalay, A & Charlotte, H (2007) postulate that cognitive and
behavioral problems experienced by alcohol and drug using youth may interfere
with their academic performance and also present obstacles to learning for their
classmates. In this regard not only students that use drugs suffer but also non-
drinking students that have to ―babysit‖ a colleague high on drugs.
Reports on the influence of substances abuse on academic activities indicate that it
interferes with physiological, psychological and emotional functioning. Among the
problems recorded are impaired memory and other intellectual faculties, and
tracking inability in sensory and perceptual functions (Agrawal & Dick, 2008).
Further, the habit creates preoccupation with acquiring the substances, adverse
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psycho-pathetic complications and social development. This may lead to truancy,
lack of concentration on studies among others (Eisenstein, 2005).
Reduced cognitive efficiency leads to poor academic performance and thus
resulting in decreased self-esteem. This contributes to instability in an individuals’
sense of identity, which in turn, is likely to contribute to further substance abuse,
thus creating a vicious circle (Hawkins, Catalano & Miller, 1992; Eisenstein,
An excessive use of alcohol and/or drug threatens physical or mental health,
inhibits responsible personal relationships, or diminishes the ability to meet family,
social or vocational obligations. Martens, M et al., (2012) posit that alcohol and
drug use causes many interconnected and far reaching problems/consequences.
Their research findings show that, alcohol and drug use can not only impair the
bodies’ ability to function but can have long-range negative effects on health and
well-being as well. Almost every system in the body can be negatively affected by
alcohol according to WHO (2010). Additionally, young people/students in
university and college, who persistently use alcohol and drug often experience an
array of problems, including academic difficulties, health-related problems
(including mental health), poor peer relationships and involvement in criminal
practices Odejide, A. O (2006). College education is extremely expensive thus
parents and authorities should work with their children towards a sober life.
Okari J, & Masese A, (2018) in a study conducted in Masaba North, Nyamira
County to determine the effects of drug abuse on academic performance of students
lists the effect of drugs abuse among students as poor self-control, strained
relationship with other students and poor academic performance. Similar results
were obtained by Muoti et al., (2014) while carrying out a study on effects of drugs
abuse on participation in learning among students in high schools. This finding is
also in agreement with United Nations (2005), view that cognitive and behavioral
problems experienced by alcohol-and drug-using youth may interfere with their
academic performance and also present obstacles to learning.
1.8.2 Physical Health:
Injuries due to accidents (such as car accidents), physical disabilities and diseases
and the effects of possible overdoses are among the health-related consequences of
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university students’ Alcohol and drug abuse. According to Brook JS, Morojele NK,
Pahl K, Brook DW (2004), alcohol and drug abuse also motivate the students to
practice unsafe sexual encounters with different sexual partners, which can lead
them to contract HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Transmission
of HIV/AIDS primarily occurs during unsafe sexual contact or through sharing of
unsterile drug-injection equipment Aklog, T, Tiruneh, G & Tsegay, G (2013).
Many students who used alcohol and drug engage in behavior that places them at
risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. This may
include the actual use of psychoactive substances (particularly those that are
injected) or behavior resulting from poor judgment and impulse control while
experiencing the effects of mood-altering substances Brook, J. et al., (1998). Not
only does the physical status of the user change but also the emotional and
cognitive state of the user. Using various substances can lead to memory problems,
confusion, hallucinations, negative and suicidal thoughts, and mood swings. All
this can lead to behavioral changes, such as aggressive behavior, social isolation,
and problems in one’s sexual life. There are many negative effects drugs cause.
Drug abuse leads to many physical changes and health problems, such as high
blood pressure, heart problems, and liver failure. Side effects of drugs use can
include allergic reactions (hives, rash, etc.) that can be fatal. Mixing drugs can lead
to breathing difficulties and coma.
1.8.3 Peers:
Research by Gezahegn T, Andualem D, & Mitiku T. H, (2014) found out that
alcohol and drug abusing University students were often alienated from and
stigmatized by their peers. Those using alcohol and other drugs (drinking alcohol,
chewing khat and smoking cigarette) also often disengaged from school activities
(such as group work, different clubs in campus, sport practices, academic group
work and community activities, depriving their peers and communities of the
positive contributions they might otherwise have made
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1.8.4 Families:
In addition to personal hardships, the abuse of alcohol and other drugs by university
students may result in family crises and jeopardize many aspects of family life,
sometimes resulting in family dysfunction. According to Martens, M. et al.,
(2012), both children and parents are profoundly affected by their children alcohol
and drug involvement. It is well known that substance abuse can drain a family's
financial and emotional resources. This in-turn profoundly causes many inter-
related problems to the families.
1.8.5 Fatalities and Injuries:
From bad health to ruined families and future, substance abuse in college can be
fatal. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH),
86.3 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some
point in their lifetime; 70.0 percent reported that they drank in the past year;
55.3 percent reported that they drank in the past month. Available data postulates
that, more than 1,825 students (18-24 years old) die due to alcohol related causes in
America every year (New York Times 2014). The numbers are higher when we
take the emergency cases and death caused by other drugs. Accidents and injuries
are also a severe consequence. For instance, 600,000 students suffer a drinking-
related injury every year in the USA. Around 696,000 students report having been
assaulted by a drunken student. In Kenya the problematic use of drugs by university
students has resulted into various consequences that include fatal and non-fatal
injuries (Ndegwa et al., 2017)
1.8.6 Social and Economic Consequences:
The social and economic costs related to youth alcohol and substance abuse are
high. They result from the financial losses and distress suffered by alcohol and
drug-related crime victims, increased burdens for the support of young adults who
are not able to become self-supporting, and greater demands for medical and other
treatment services for these youth O’Malley, P. M. & Johnston, L. D (2002).
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1.8.7 Delinquency and Criminal Behavior:
As revealed by the findings of Odejide, A. O. (2006), there is an undeniable link
between alcohol and drug abuse and delinquency. Arrest, adjudication, and
intervention by the juvenile justice system are eventual consequences for many
University and College students engaged in alcohol and drug use. In addition,
alcohol and drug abuse causes delinquent behavior and physical or sexual abuse as
noted by Brook J.S et al. (2004). There is strong evidence of an association
between alcohol and other drug use and delinquent behavior. Alcohol and drug
abuse is associated with both violent and income generating crimes. Unsafe sexual
practice, gangs, drug trafficking, prostitution, and growing numbers of youth
murders are among the social and criminal justice problems often linked to alcohol
and drug abuse Gezahegn T, Andualem D, & Mitiku T. H, (2014). Generally,
alcohol and drug abuse causes so many interrelated problems such as: loss of
friends (except other substance users), negative changes in appetite with possible
weight loss, reduction or loss of libido, extreme mood swings (often anger,
depression), lying about alcohol and drug use to friends, loss of memory for times
when under the influence, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when not using,
involvement in crime to support habit, loss of energy and general health and
wellbeing, and increasingly unable to believe own denial and excuses Didenko &
Pankratz, (2007).
1.8.8 Mental Health:
As stated by W. Deressa and A. Azazh (2011), mental health problems such as
depression, developmental lags, apathy, withdrawal and other psychosocial
dysfunctions frequently are linked to alcohol and substance abuse among
adolescents. Substance-abusing youth are at higher risk than non-users for mental
health problems, including depression; conduct problems, personality disorders and
suicidal thoughts Kebede, Y, (2002). As stated by Gezahegn T, et al. (2014),
numerous studies have investigated the influence of psychological distress and
psychiatric disorders on adolescent Alcohol and drug use. Psychological distress,
including low self-esteem and depression, contribute to the initiation and
maintenance of drug use. Evidences are found for higher rates of psychopathology
among drug users compared with non-users by O’Malley, P. M. & Johnston, L. D.
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(2002). Also, various relationships have been proposed between drug abuse and
psychiatric disorders.
For example; drug use could induce psychiatric pathology in vulnerable individuals
or drug use could begin as a form of self-medication, particularly among
schizophrenics. In summary, there is a tendency for students who have problems
relating to alcohol and drug abuse to have higher rates of emotional or psychiatric
problems than those who don’t abuse.
1.8.9 Addiction:
In addition, drug use can lead to addiction. Unfortunately, it comes with severe
withdrawal symptoms (body aches, diarrhea, dizziness, etc.).
1.8.10 Sexual Assault:
Further, around 97,000 students in college in America report having become
victims of date rape or sexual assault. In addition, STD and unwanted pregnancy
are some of the consequences of drug use and unsafe sex. Substance abuse results
in other crimes as well such as vandalism, property damage, litter. However, these
are classified as ―secondhand effects.‖
1.9 Conclusion:
The study concludes as follows:
i.) The prevalence of drug abuse among University students is high. There is evidence
that some of the students are at high risk of harmful drug abuse. Detection of the
students at risk and remedial measures to be undertaken in universities includes
restricting availability of alcohol around the learning institution; sensitizing
lecturers, and students and other university staff on ways to detect problems among
their colleagues.
ii) It is essential to consider the factors described above when designing educational
and counseling interventions to prevent drug abuse in the population, particularly
among adolescents and youths. It is recommended to focus on changing the
knowledge and attitudes of youths about the adverse effects of drug abuse on their
health using appropriate educational and counseling programs.
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iii) Bonding with children from an early age and spending time with them helps in
shaping children’s behavior. Limiting the setting helps children understands the
positive consequences of good behavior and the negative consequences of bad
behavior. If we are able to use these three strategies, we will have responsible
children with high self-esteem who will be able to withstand pressure to engage in
bad behavior like using drugs.
1.10 Recommendations:
This section presents the recommendations of the study. The research reviewed a wide
range of secondary literature on which the recommendations are based.
1. The campaign against drugs should target parents who might not be aware that
their children are abusing drugs.
2. There should be sustained campaigns to fight drug use and not seasonal ones.
3. Police should intensify operations against notorious drug dealers in the country.
4. Multi agency collaboration in the fight against the menace is recommended.
5. Launch of massive sensitization and awareness campaigns on the dangers of the
illicit drugs.
6. Religious leaders should join in the campaign against drugs and complement the
work of NACADA and other agencies.
7. Considering the magnitude of the vice, the government and the individual
university managers should work in collaboration and open up many
rehabilitation centers to support those students caught up in drug use.
8. The study recommends that the Government put an end to advertising of alcohol and
other related drugs like cigarettes.
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This study set out to examine factors associated with alcohol use and abuse among university students in Kenya. The target population of the study was Daystar University Nairobi and Athi River students. The study used cross-sectional design with respondents recruited from the two campuses. Post-hoc power calculations were conducted using the G*power program to calculate the sample size for the study. A total sample of 140 was obtained using respondent-driven sampling that targeted students using alcohol or cannabis. The respondents were assessed using ASSIST, AUDIT, PHQ-9, BAI, and IES. The data was analysed using inferential statistics that included t-tests, ANOVA, chi square, linear and logistic regressions. The results revealed that most of the respondents had moderate risk for alcohol use problems. In addition, gender, age, year of study and place of residence, parental and peer use, media, and accessibility to drugs were all factors that were found to influence drug use. Similarly, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and academic performance were found to have an association with respondents' drug use.
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Substance use remains high among Ethiopian youth and young adolescents particularly in high schools and colleges. The use of alcohol, khat and tobacco by college and university students can be harmful; leading to decreased academic performance, increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, the magnitude of substance use and the factors associated with it has not been investigated among medical students in the country. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of substance use and identify factors that influenced the behavior among undergraduate medical students of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study using a pre-tested structured self-administered quantitative questionnaire was conducted in June 2009 among 622 medical students (Year I to Internship program) at the School of Medicine. The data were entered into Epi Info version 6.04d and analyzed using SPSS version 15 software program. Descriptive statistics were used for data summarization and presentation. Differences in proportions were compared for significance using Chi Square test, with significance level set at p < 0.05. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess the magnitude of associations between substance use and socio-demographic and behavioral correlates. In the last 12 months, alcohol was consumed by 22% (25% males vs. 14% females, p = 0.002) and khat use was reported by 7% (9% males vs. 1.5% females, p < 0.001) of the students. About 9% of the respondents (10.6% males vs. 4.6% females, p = 0.014) reported ever use of cigarette smoking, and 1.8% were found to be current smokers. Using multiple logistic regression models, being male was strongly associated with alcohol use in the last 12 months (adjusted OR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.22-3.76). Students whose friends currently consume alcohol were more likely to consume alcohol (adjusted OR = 2.47, 95% CI = 1.50-4.08) and whose friends' use tobacco more likely to smoke (adjusted OR = 3.89, 95% CI = 1.83-8.30). Khat use within the past 12 months was strongly and positively associated with alcohol consumption (adjusted OR = 15.11, 95% CI = 4.24-53.91). Similarly, ever use of cigarette was also significantly associated with alcohol consumption (adjusted OR = 8.65, 95% CI = 3.48-21.50). Concordant use of alcohol, khat and tobacco is observed and exposure to friends' use of substances is often implicated. Alcohol consumption or khat use has been significantly associated with tobacco use. While the findings of this study suggest that substance use among the medical students was not alarming, but its trend increased among students from Year I to Internship program. The university must be vigilant in monitoring and educating the students about the consequences of substance use.
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The authors suggest that the most promising route to effective strategies for the prevention of adolescent alcohol and other drug problems is through a risk-focused approach. This approach requires the identification of risk factors for drug abuse, identification of methods by which risk factors have been effectively addressed, and application of these methods to appropriate high-risk and general population samples in controlled studies. The authors review risk and protective factors for drug abuse, assess a number of approaches for drug abuse prevention potential with high-risk groups, and make recommendations for research and practice.
The purpose of this monograph was to propose a framework, family interactional theory, for explaining the psychosocial aspects of adolescent drug use. Three themes are stressed: (a) the extension of developmental perspectives on drug use, (b) the elucidation of family (especially parental) influences leading to drug use, and (c) the exploration of factors that increase or mitigate adolescents' vulnerability to drug use. We present a developmental model with two components; the first deals with adolescent pathways to drug use, and the second incorporates childhood factors. The model was tested in two studies: one cross-sectional study of 649 college students and their fathers, and one longitudinal study of 429 children and their mothers. The subjects were given self-administered questionnaires containing scales measuring the personality, family, and peer variables outlined in the model. The results of each study supported the hypothesized model, with some differences between parental influences. We also found that individual protective factors (e.g., adolescent conventionality, parent-child attachment) could offset risk factors (e.g., peer drug use) and enhance other protective factors, resulting in less adolescent marijuana use. Implications of the findings for prevention and treatment, future research, and public policy are discussed.
A study of the fathers' impact on their daughters' marijuana use is presented viewed in the context of the mother and the daughters' peer group. Four hundred and three female college student volunteers and their fathers were administered closed-ended questionnaires which included a number of scales assessing various parental and peer characteristics. The results indicated that the domain (set) of paternal variables had a direct impact on daughters' marijuana use independent of the effects of the maternal domain. However, in the case of the peer group, the fathers' effects on daughters' marijuana use were not direct but were mediated through the peer domain. In addition, individual protective (nondrug-conducive) paternal variables served to mitigate the effects of certain maternal and peer risk (drug conductive) factors on the daughters' marijuana use. The findings underscore the importance of identifying those paternal factors that exert an influence on the daughters' marijuana use alone or in combination with other interpersonal (maternal, peer) factors.
One approach to determining the validity of self-reported drug use measures is to examine the extent of logically inconsistent responses over time. Because lifetime use logically should never decline, the rate of subsequent recanting of earlier reported lifetime use provides relevant evidence on validity. In this chapter, recanting rates are examined in nationally representative samples of high school seniors (18-year-olds) surveyed in the Monitoring the Future study as they are followed up on seven occasions through age 32. For the illegal drugs examined (marijuana, cocaine, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)), recanting rates prove to be quite modest, but for the psychotherapeutic drugs, they were more substantial, possibly because of their greater definitional ambiguity. In general, there were no large individual differences in recanting rates as a function of sex, household composition, community size, or education level. Consistent with previous work, minorities (particularly African Americans) had somewhat higher rates of recanting on the illegal drugs. So did respondents in certain occupations, namely, the military and police/firefighting. In general, however, the evidence is quite good for validity of self-reported (by mail) lifetime use of the illegal drugs in young adulthood.