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Surveying the Level of Knowledge, Awareness and Health Related Risk of Substance Abuse among Students in University of Port Harcourt’s Host Communities

, Nguma Promise Onyewuchi

Abstract: Background: Substance abuse refers to the use of all chemicals, drugs and industrial solvents that can produce dependence (psychological and physical). It can also be referred to as the repeated non-medical use of potentially addictive chemical and organic substances. There is poor data about the health related risk of substance abuse among students in Nigeria. Hence, this survey was done to determine the level of knowledge, awareness & the health related risk of substance abuse among students and her host communities as an attempt to curb the menace and its effect on students and the entire society at large. Materials and Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out in ALUU Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. The study involved 150 volunteers recruited randomly through a multi-staged sampling technique which included secondary school students, undergraduates and postgraduates who are 13yrs and above residing in ALUU community while those who did not give consent were excluded. The data was collected using self-structured close-ended self-administered questionnaires and data analysis done using SPSS version 25. Results and Discussions: The results of the study showed that 98.67% have knowledge of drug abuse, the knowledge of health and social effects of substances of abuse on humans was 96.67%. The most prevalent health/social effects were: memory loss 74.67%, sleeping and eating disorders 67.33%. The results of the study have shown that more than 2/3rd of the participants had good knowledge of drug abuse. Similarly, more than 2/3rd of the participants heard about drug/substance abuse via the mass media. The most abused drug/substance was alcohol, 9 in 10 persons abused alcohol. This goes on to imply that the chance that a student who is resident in Aluu abuses alcohol is 90%. Conclusion: The results of the study showed that 98.67% have knowledge of drug abuse, the knowledge of health and social effects of substances of abuse on humans was 96.67%. The most prevalent health/social effects were: memory loss 74.67%, sleeping and eating disorders 67.33%. Peer group, neighbourhood influence, and ‘the only child syndrome’ were the attributed contributing factors to the continual use of alcohol/drugs, even when the health and social effects are well known.
Keywords: students / residing in ALUU / survey / structured / child / substances of abuse

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