Prevalence of alcohol consumption among secondary school students in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria
Background: Consumption of alcohol by secondary school students is a major public health concern globally, but its prevalence is not known in secondary schools in Port Harcourt.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and factors associated with alcohol use among secondary school students in Port Harcourt.
Methods: This was a cross sectional school based study conducted in Port Harcourt in March 2014. A 20 itemed structured, self -administered questionnaire was distributed to 1080 senior secondary 1 to 3 students from 10 public secondary schools selected through Multistage Sampling technique. Questions asked covered drinking of alcohol, frequency of drinking and being drunk in the past 30 days before the survey. Other behaviours sought were smoking of cigarette, use of cocaine and going out in the evening for fun. Sociodemographic was also sought. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20.
Results: 1080 students participated in the study, mean age 16.09±6SD and male to female ratio of 0.9: 1. Prevalence of current drinking of alcohol was 30.6% and 38.1% of current drinkers were also drunk in the past 30 days, with 17.2 % being very frequently drunk. The behaviour which showed a strong association with drinking of alcohol, being drunk and the frequency of being drunk was going out in the evening for fun and recreation. Gender showed a positive association with drinking of alcohol, as more males drank alcohol with in the past 30 days compared to the females (p=0.000). Smoking of cigarette in the past 30 days and truancy were positively associated with being drunk, while academic grades showed an inverse relationship with consumption of alcohol. Majority of those who drank alcohol (42.6%) were experimenting with alcohol, though 5.4% drank due to addiction. Majority (39.3%) bought their drinks from stores and supermarkets. The most Common problems experienced by the drinkers were fatigue, alcohol made them behave in ways they later regretted and it hurt their relationships.
Conclusion: Alcoholism is a serious problem with secondaryschool students in Port Harcourt. It is linked with truancy, poor academic achievement and other substances use. The most serious health and social problem experienced by the drinkers is addiction.
Keywords: Prevalence, Alcohol, Secondary school, Consumption,