Pattern of Adolescent Substance Abuse among Secondary School Students in Umuahia, South- Eastern Nigeria
Background: Over the years different substances of abuse have been reported from one setting to the other. The availability, accessibility and affordability of these materials determine the pattern of their abuse in these areas. Gateway substance like alcohol and tobacco were commonly reported among adolescents. However, newer substances are now been abused due to their cheaper cost and difficult detection by available drug screening methods. The current study had a critical look at the current drugs being abused among adolescent students enrolled in secondary schools in Umuahia. Methodology: A cross-sectional descriptive study of adolescent students in secondary schools in urban and rural communities in Umuahia. A modified WHO student drug use questionnaire and UDT kits were used to ascertain the drug use status of participants. Chi-square was used to test for significant association between categorical variables. p-values <0.05 were accepted as significant. Results: The commonest licit substance by self-report was coffee in 128 (32.0%) current abusers followed by kola nut in 75 (18.8%) of them. Among the illicit substances, cannabis had a prevalence of 18.8%. The least self-reported substance was cocaine with a prevalence of 0.8%. Oxycodone was the commonest substance detected by UDT with a prevalence of 24.8%, cocaine was also the least by UDT with a prevalence of 1.5%. Conclusion: The study revealed that coffee was the most abused licit drug followed by kolanut by self-report. Cannabis and “Lacatomtom” were the most abused illicit materials with cocaine being the least by self-report. UDT obtained oxycodone, cannabis, opioids and methamphetamine with cocaine as the least. Recommendation: Mandatory random drug use surveys should be introduced in our schools to monitor and offer mitigating actions against the rising drug demand among our adolescents.