Patterns of substance abuse and the associated factors among undergraduate university students at the coastal region of Kenya

Mbuthia G, Wanzala P, Ngugi C, Nyamogoba

Mbuthia G, [1]; Wanzala P, [2]; Ngugi C, [3];Nyamogoba,[ 1]

  1. College of Health Sciences, Moi University,   P.O Box 4606 Eldoret   Kenya
  2. Centers for Public Health Hesearch, Kenya Medical Research Institute, P.O. Box
  3. College of Health Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P.O Box

 Corresponding author: Email: Box 4606 Eldoret, Kenya.


Background: Effective response to the challenge of drug abuse and mitigation of the negative effects of drug abuse among the youth relies mainly on accurate information on the extent and pattern of various drugs and substances abuse among this group of individuals. This study was done to determine the prevalence and pattern of alcohol and drug abuse among first year undergraduate students at two Public Universities in the coastal region of Kenya and factors associated to the behaviour.

Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 473 first year undergraduate students was carried out at Pwani University and Technical University of Mombasa. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaire.

Results: Majority (81.8%) of the students were within the age range of 17-20 years with mean age of 19.6 (SD+ 1.79 years).  A total of 148 (31%) of the first year students had ever used alcohol while 18.6 % were current users. Males were more likely to have used alcohol than females. Attending religious services regularly, female gender, age below 20 years, Muslim religion, monthly allowance less than 5000, having attended high school in the rural area and having resided in the rural area during high school were protective factors against alcohol use.

Conclusion and recommendation: A significant number of students in the first year of study were engaging in substance abuse. Alcohol, tobacco, Khat (miraa) and marijuana were the commonly abused drugs. There is need for Universities set up programs aimed at creating awareness on the harmful effects of substance abuse and dissuade the students from engaging in the vice.

 Key words: University students, alcohol and drug abuse, substance abuse, coastal region of Kenya

Afr J Health Sci. 2015; 28(2):156-167

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