SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS. A STUDY OF LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
This study examined the perception of drug abuse amongst Nigerian undergraduates living off-campus. Students were surveyed at the Lagos State University, Ojo, allowing for a diverse sample that included a large percentage of the students from different faculties and departments. The undergraduate students were surveyed with a structured self-reporting anonymous questionnaire modified and adapted from the WHO student drug survey proforma. Of the 1000 students surveyed, a total of 807 responded to the questionnaire resulting in 80.7% response rate. Majority (77.9%) of the students were aged 19-30 years and unmarried. Six hundred and ninety eight (86.5%) claimed they were aware of drug abuse, but contrarily they demonstrated poor knowledge and awareness. Marijuana, 298 (45.7%) was the most common drug of abuse seen by most of the students. They were unable to identify very well the predisposing factors to drug use and the attending risks. Two hundred and sixty six (33.0%) students were currently taking one or more drugs of abuse. Coffee (43.1%) was the most commonly used drug, followed by alcohol (25.8%) and marijuana (7.4%). Despite chronic use of these drugs (5 years and above), addiction is not a common finding. The study also revealed the poor attitudes of the undergraduates to drug addicts even after rehabilitation. It was therefore concluded that the awareness, knowledge, practices and attitudes of Nigerian undergraduates towards drug abuse is very poor. Considerably more research is needed to develop effective prevention strategy that combines school-based interventions with those affecting the family, social institutions and the larger community.