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

Prevalence, Drugs Used, Sources, and Awareness of Curative and Preventive Measures among Kenyatta University Students, Nairobi County, Kenya

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

Prevalence, Drugs Used, Sources, and Awareness of Curative and Preventive Measures among Kenyatta University Students, Nairobi County, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to establish the prevalence of drug use and abuse among the students in Kenyatta University (Main Campus). The study was guided by the following objectives: establishing the extent of drug use and abuse, determining drugs commonly used, sources of drugs, the factors that encouraged drug use and abuse, awareness of prevention and curative services available in the University. A survey research design was used in which a paper based questionnaire was used to collect study data. A sample of 491 students was randomly selected from 42 departments and eight schools. Of these, 212(43.2%) were females, and 256(52.1%) were males while 23(4.7%) did not indicate their gender. The findings showed that majority of the respondents (68.02%) did not use drugs. Only 25.5% of the respondents were using drugs while 34(6.92%) did not respond. Further, the results showed that the most commonly used drug was alcohol (92.1%). Others included: bhang (62.9%), tobacco (51.5%), miraa (khat) (51.9%), cocaine (5.9%), and heroin (3.5%). The main drugs sources included: KM (42.8%), Students Annex (36.6%), Wakiro (KU Ruiru Campus) (6.3%), tuck-shops, (6.3%), Kenyatta University Shopping Centre (5.4%), and the kiosks (2.4%). The main factors that encouraged drug use included: peer pressure (69.25%), stress relief, (67.62%), recreation, (39.31%), and social acceptability, (36.66%). An overwhelming majority of the respondents, 88% agreed that peer influence was a very significant factor in drug use. Only 28% admitted being aware of the availability of preventive and curative programs in the University while 72% were not aware. Of the respondents, 42.43% said that the ADA problem was rampant. Majority, (44.13%) of the respondents suggested that alcohol and drug abuse awareness should be increased while others suggested strict punishment for ADA offenders. The study recommended that many students be trained as ADA trainer of trainers (TOTs) by Wellness Centre in order to reach the others in the campaign against ADA, and increase the students' awareness of the preventive and curative programs available in the University. Further, a rehabilitation centre should be developed to provide curative programs to the addicted students.

Keywords: alcohol, curative measures, drugs, drug use, drug abuse, university students, prevalence

INTRODUCTION

Alcohol and drug abuse have been categorized as global epidemics alongside HIV and AIDS (McCabe, Boyd and Teter (2009) while the NACADA report of (2012) identified alcohol and drug abuse as a major challenge facing Kenya during current times. The detrimental effects of alcohol and drug abuse have been documented by study after study and across temporal and spatial domains. Indeed, alcohol and drug abuse have been identified as major factors contributing not only to the psychological ill health of the people involved but to the detrimental impact of their physical health as well. University students may have a history of drug taking long before entering college while there are those who may be introduced to drugs on college entry. University students who take drugs risk dependence and addiction to the substances they use or abuse and this becomes an issue of concern as shown by studies by Dhanookdhary et al., (2010) and Purris, and Mach Innis (2009) who aver that students may start to use drugs as a voluntary activity, however, with continued use dependency sets in. The substances students may use or abuse alter the way their brain functions subsequently affecting how they behave. Thus a student taking drugs may suffer panic attacks, psychosis, outbursts of violence, mood swings and increased risk of heart attack or stroke depending on the type of drug used. Psychologically, the effects of drug use include long lasting changes in feelings, thoughts, and perceptions of the world. For university students, alcohol and substance abuse are most likely to be associated with lowered performance, missed lectures, aggression as well as risky sexual behaviors which the students may engage in due to loss of cognitive self control (Zinn et al. …

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