Evaluation of Awareness, Prevalence and Factors Affecting Substance Use among Recent University Graduates in Nigeria
Asian Journal of Medical Principles and Clinical Practice, Volume 5, Issue 4,
Background: Substance use among the adolescent and young adult population in society is a phenomenon that has been widely studied but remains of interest due to its potential consequences. In Nigeria, recent graduates from both government and private universities are mobilized to different states outside their state of origin for a one-year national youth service corps (NYSC) program during which they are deployed to different places of primary assignment. Drug abuse usually leads to behavioral and psychiatric disorders. Thus, this study was done to ascertain the level of awareness, prevalence and factors associated with substance use among the recent university graduates in Nigeria - focusing on those who are currently undergoing national youth service program.
Methods: A cross-sectional and descriptive survey was conducted among current NYSC members across 17 selected states in Nigeria including the federal capital territory for the duration of two months between April 2022 and August 2022. A study questionnaire was electronically administered to the respondents through social media platforms across 17 randomly selected States in Nigeria. Data collected were coded and abstracted into the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet and thereafter transcribed into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23 for Windows for final analysis. Simple descriptive statistics including counts and percentages (%) were reported for categorical data.
Results: Total of 2200 respondents representing 95.7% of the sample size (2300) completed this survey. More males (57.8%) than female (42.2) within the age brackets of 20-25 years (48.6%) and 26-30years (51.4%) participated with Lagos (49.5%), Kaduna (16.5%) and Enugu (4.6%) states leading in the number of respondents. Majority of the respondents (68.8%) are in health-related disciplines with an average monthly income between 10 to 100 thousand naira. Our result showed that a 96.3% of the participants learned about substance abuse largely through the social media (40.3%) and studies in school (34.7%) and have awareness of the different substances of abuse including marijuana (29.1%), alcohol (26.3%), opioids (11.4%), cigarettes (10.9%) and Benzodiazepines and methamphetamine with percentages of 5.7% and 8.6% respectively. Among the substance of abuse users, peer pressure (20%), curiosity (20%) and to relieve stress (30%) are major reasons for first indulgence while relaxation (50%) and euphoria (30%) are the most important reasons for continued use. Only a few experienced side effects ranging from body pain and weakness (18.2%) to intoxication (18.2%) to vomiting (18.2%).
Conclusion: Majority of our respondents have the knowledge about substance abuse. However, only a few have indulged in substance abuse because of stress, curiosity, peer pressure or attempt to achieving physical or mental relaxation. Hence, there’s a need for comprehensive control programs targeted at young people that focuses essentially on the youths' psychoeducation, substance abuse and related negative consequences, promotion of ‘after school' life skills, as well as family integration and peer-based preventive interventions.
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