Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

A Comparative Analysis of Drug Use and Abuse among Male and Female Secondary School Students in Kisii County, Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

A Comparative Analysis of Drug Use and Abuse among Male and Female Secondary School Students in Kisii County, Kenya

Article excerpt


The study investigated and made a comparison on the prevalence of drug use and abuse among male and female secondary school adolescents in Kiamokama Division, Kisii District. Simple random sampling was used to select five schools out of the eleven schools in the Division. The accessible population was 120 Form Four students in the selected schools. A questionnaire was administered to students with the help of two teachers in every school. An interview guideline was used to collect information from teachers. Observation and document analysis was also used in data collection. Data collected was cleaned, coded and entered in SPSS computer program where it was analyzed. A descriptive approach was used in analysis to make inferences and conclusions to the study findings. It was found that boys were the predominant drug users who made up at least two thirds of drug users in the hard drugs category. The majority of the users of alcohol (the most used hard drug) were boys. The highest proportion of girls in drugs was observed in cigarettes and miraa, where they constituted one third of the users. All those that had used heroin were boys. The author recommends that students need to be properly educated on the negative effects on drug use. They also need to be put to light on factors that lead to drug abuse and the effective precautionary measures they should take. The study contributes useful knowledge that can be used by education stakeholders to eradicate and/or deal with the problems associated with illicit drug use and abuse among students and young people in general

Keywords: addiction, drug, use, abuse, male, female, secondary school students, illicit drugs, thrill seekers, kisii, Kenya


The issue of drug use has been in existence for thousands of years. It is as old as human kind and has been an integral part of each society. Human beings have used various kinds of psychotropic substances in the hope of solving problems and reducing pain by altering the state of the central nervous system. A drug can be defined as any substance which, when ingested by a living organism, alters one or more of its physiological functions. It can also be said to be a medicinal substance, a narcotic hallucinogen or a stimulant, especially one causing addiction (Kombo, 2003). Tebeny (n.d.) defines a drug as any substance, legal or illegal, which affects the central nervous system either by stimulating or depressing it. Legal substances include alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee which if taken in reasonable quantities have no health side effect on the consumer. However, they can be harmful if taken in excess. Illegal drugs (hard drugs) which are harmful to one's health even when taken in small portions, are heroine, miraa (khat), kuber, mairungi, cocaine, mandrax and cannabis sativa (bhang), alongside its by-products, hashish and hashish oil.

A substance is considered abused if it is deliberately used to induce a physiological and/or psychological effect or both for purposes other than therapeutic ones and when used contributes to health risks or some combinations of these (Ndambuki, 2003). A drug may be prescribed for specific therapeutic purposes. Obtaining and taking them without prescription for the purpose of experiencing some desired effects is abusing the drug. It is likely that in the near future, the term substance abuse rather than drug abuse will be used because not all abused chemicals are drugs. Abused substances, other than drugs, include glue, cleaning fluids, petrol and other chemicals that can cause psychological and physiological effects (Ndambuki, 2003, p. 81).

Currently, drug abuse is a problem experienced by both the young and the old, although the young are more affected. Studies have revealed that this habit is a common phenomenon within the youth's culture (Scarpitti & Datesman, 1980; Kariuki, 1988; Nowinski, 1990; Currie, 1993). Research has also indicated that this habit has its roots in the pre-teen age years and is further amplified in the teenage years when most youths are in secondary schools. …

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