Substance Use amongst Secondary School Students in Rural and Urban Communities in South Western Nigeria
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and pattern of drug use among secondary school students in rural and urban communities in South western Nigeria. Design: a survey of senior secondary school students for drug use using a modified form of the World Health Organisation (WHO) questionnaire for student drug use surveys after a pilot study. Setting: Rural and urban communities in two local government areas in Ilesa, Osun State in South western part of Nigeria. Subjects: A total of 600 students drawn from six secondary schools. Main outcome measures: Prevalence rates of drugs use, drug use pattern by sex, class, urban/rural location of school and age of initiation into drug use. Intervention: Determination of drug use prevalence rates and pattern under anonymous condition. Results: Questionnaires of 567 respondents were analysed. Their mean age was 17.0 years (S.D +- 1.69). The most commonly used drugs and their current prevalence rates were salicylate analgesics, 48.7%; stimulants, 20.9%; antibiotics, 16.6%; alcohol, 13.4%; hypnosedatives, 8.9% and tobacco, 3.0%. Current and lifetime use of alcohol as well as current, past and lifetime use of tobacco occurred significantly more commonly among the males. Past and lifetime use of tobacco was significantly more common in the rural school. For the majority of respondents, initiation into drug use started at a very early age (14 years or below). The majority were mild current users of the drugs, except tobacco for which the majority were daily users. Conclusion: Secondary school students in south western Nigeria engage in use of commonly available drugs like their counterparts elsewhere. Stringent measures should be taken to effect supply and demand reduction.