Prevalence and correlates of substance use among undergraduates in a developing country

  • Chinyere Mirian Aguocha
  • Emeka Nwefoh
Keywords: Substance use; undergraduates; Nigeria.


Background: Psychoactive substance use is a major global public health issue. Use of psychoactive substances has been associated with negative consequences among students.

Objective: The study assessed the prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of psychoactive substance use among un- dergraduate students in a Nigerian university.

Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study of 763 undergraduate students of Imo State Uni- versity, Owerri, Nigeria, recruited using multi-stage sampling technique. Data on the socio-demographic characteristics and pattern of psychoactive substance use were collected using a structured questionnaire.

Results: The lifetime rate of psychoactive substance use was 84.5%. Alcohol had the highest rate of lifetime (82.5%) and 12-month (61.1%) use. There was a similar rate of lifetime use of psychoactive substances among males (86.1%) and females (83.4%). Age (p<0.05) and place of residence (p<0.05) were significantly associated with lifetime psychoactive substance use. Catholics (OR:1.43; 1.03 – 1.99), whose friend (OR:1.94; 1.39 – 2.71), roommate (OR:3.06; (1.62 – 5.78) or broth- er (OR:1.22; 0.77 – 1.93) uses psychoactive substances were significantly more likely to have used substances in the past 12-months.

Conclusion: There is a high rate of psychoactive substance use among the students. Age, religion, place of residence, family and peer use of substances are important determinants of psychoactive substance use.

Keywords: Substance use; undergraduates; Nigeria.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905