African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

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Prevalence and consequences of substance use among high school and college students in Ethiopia: A review of the literature

W Abebe


This paper is an overview of mind-altering substance use among high school and college students in Ethiopia in the past two decades. Alcohol, khat and cigarettes were commonly used by both high school and college students in urban as well as rural areas. While the use patterns of the substances were related to the gender, education/age and religion of the users, no clear-cut patterns were observed in relation to several other factors including geographic locations. Further, cannabis was used in selected high schools, and its abuse prevalence was greater in urban private schools, as it was for alcohol and tobacco use. Students who used khat, alcohol or cigarettes also displayed increased violent behaviours towards women and enhanced sexual activity, with increased risks for  negative consequences. However, as a limited number of studies have been reported in the literature, this review provides only limited information on such substance use. Nonetheless, despite this limitation, the review can be a useful source of information for designing future research directions and for considering actions directed towards tackling this important problem.

Keywords: alcohol, khat, tobacco, cannabis, students, Ethiopia

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