Drug use, consequences and perceived accessibility in three Nigerian universities


Background: Use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances constitutes major public health concern, especially among adolescents and young adults. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence and perceived accessibility of psychoactive substances. Method: This cross sectional study was conducted in three Nigerian universities with the use of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) student model questionnaire. Results: Five hundred and forty-nine students participated. Majority of them were females, 289 (55.2%); Christians, 382 (73.0%); of Yoruba ethnic group, 375 (79.6%), and single, 512 (94.8%). Their mean age was 20.11 years (sd = 2.36). Stimulants other than the Amphetamine-types had the highest lifetime prevalence rate (53.4%), followed by Alcohol (35.8%), tranquilizers (12%), opiates other than Heroin (11.9%) and cigarettes (11.3%). Among the illicit drugs, marijuana had the highest prevalence (7.2%). Lifetime prevalence rates of cocaine and heroin use were both 2.1%. The average age at first use of any of the substances was between 10 and 17 years. The commonest consequences of alcohol use were engaged in sex regretted the next day (2.5%) and engaged in sex without using condom (2.1%); while the commonest consequences of drug use were damages to objects or clothing (1.1%), problems in relationship with parents (1.0%) and friends (1.0%). Stimulants other than amphetamine-types, solvents, opiates other than heroin, tranquilizers and cannabis were perceived as easy to get by 57.3%, 38.7%, 32.8%, 29.4% and 22.7% of the respondents respectively. For all the substances except Amphetamine-type stimulants, ecstasy and crack, lifetime drug use was significantly associated with perceived easy accessibility to the respective substances. Conclusions and Recommendations: Drug use among the students was associated with relationship problems and unsafe sex. It is also associated with perceived accessibility of the drugs. Attention needs to be focused on safe sex practices among the students in addition to drug use prevention interventions.

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Onifade, P. , Somoye, E. , Ogunwobi, O. , Fadipe, B. , Fela-Thomas, A. and Adeniji, M. (2014) Drug use, consequences and perceived accessibility in three Nigerian universities. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 4, 60-67. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2014.41009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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