Prevalence and pattern of psychoactive substance abuse among students at the University of Benin
Background: Substance abuse has become a disturbing phenomenon the world over; in Nigeria, it is increasingly becoming one of the most complicated social problems among university students. Understanding the pattern of abuse and the characteristics of those who abuse substances could help deal with this problem more effectively.
Aims: The aims of this study were to 1) determine the prevalence and pattern of psychoactive substance abuse among students of the university and 2) determine the socio-demographic factors that are associated with abuse.
Methods: The study was descriptive, cross sectional in design. Two hundred and six students of the University who were randomly selected completed the adapted 20-item Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-20), and socio-demographic questionnaires. Data were analyzed using version 16 of SPSS and the level of significance was set at 5% (P< 0.05).
Results: Alcohol, cigarette, Benyline with codeine cough syrup, cocaine, cannabis and TCP were the psychoactive substances used by the students of the University. One hundred and twenty eight (62.1%) and 18 (8.7%) of the respondents used and abused one substance or the other respectively. The three most commonly abused substances among the students were alcohol (3.9%), cigarette (2.4%) and benylin with codeine cough syrup (1.0%). The use of substances had significant relationship with abuse (P< 0.001). Higher proportions of males than females (P=0.021), Christians than non-Christians (P=0.002) abused substances.
Conclusion: The prevalence of substance abuse in the studied population is significant. It is worthy to note that even minor disinfectants like TCP and a cough syrup have also acquired an abuse profile. In addition to extant measures, religion could be a useful tool of prevention and the male students should be the focus of greater attention. We advocate increased enlightenment on the dangers of psychoactive substances among students.
Keywords: Prevalence, abuse, psychoactive substances, students, Benin