Substance Use Among Students in a Public Senior Secondary School in Lagos, Nigeria

Chinyere C. Okonkwo

Chinyere C. Okonkwo1,2, R. Lawal2, M. Ojo2, C. Eze2, H.T. Ladapo2, T. Hary2, C. Nwigwe2, O. Ogunwale2, E. Ladeji2, M. Aguwa2. 1Virginia Commonwealth University, United States; 2Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Nigeria

Background: Substance use and abuse has been a growing public health problem in Nigeria. A disturbing trend is the early age of onset that has been widely reported, usually in late childhood or early adolescence.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence and perception of drug use among students in a public senior secondary school in Lagos.

Method: The study was conducted in a public senior secondary school in the Lagos metropolitan city. The sample consisted of 498 first-year students in the school. The World Health Organization Students’ Drug Survey was used to collect the data.

Results: The age range of the participants was from 14 to 24 (mean 15.41). The majority were males (77.3%). The overall life-time prevalence of substance use was 39 percent. Alcohol was the most common ever-used psychoactive substance (29.1%), followed by stimulants such as kola nut and coffee (23.3%). The overall current use prevalence was 22.7 percent, with analgesics and antibiotics (e.g., aspirin, ampicillin, paracetamol) being the most used drugs. There was an association between drug use, male gender, and young age. Approximately 6 percent of the students did not see anything wrong with drug use.

Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of psychoactive substance use among students in this study. There is a need to introduce preventive strategies to deal with this problem.

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Sub-Saharan Africa
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