Factors influencing drug abuse among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East sub-county, Kenya
This study sought to examine the factors that influence alcohol and drug abuse among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East Sub County. Alcohol and drug abuse poses a major public health problem in Kenya with consequences ranging from poor health to reduced economic productivity. Kenyan youth, a large proportion of whom is secondary school students face the greatest risk as they are targeted for recruitment into substance use by drug peddlers. There is a dearth of data on knowledge, attitude and practice regarding alcohol and drug use, as well as how various factors influence drug abuse among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East Sub County, Kenya. This study sought to describe the factors that influence use of drugs, prevalence of drug use, and the knowledge of and attitude towards drug use among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East Sub-county. The study objectives were to examine the social, economic, environmental and technological factors influencing drug abuse in Uasin Gishu East Sub County. The influence of knowledge and attitude regarding drug abuse was also explored. The research questions for which answers were sought in this study are; to what extent do social and economic factors influence drug abuse among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East Sub County, what are the effects of environmental factors on drug abuse among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East Sub county, and to what extent do media and technological factors influence drug abuse among secondary school students in Uasin Gishu East Sub county. The descriptive research design was adopted in this study. Data was collected from randomly selected teachers and students using interview schedules and self-administered questionnaires respectively. Multi stage random sampling and convenient sampling design were used to select student and teacher respondents respectively. Data were analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 21. Measures of associations were calculated using Chi Square at 95% confidence level and conclusions drawn. The study found out that socially, there is a positive relationship between a student’s drug abuse and; drug abuse by family member, drug abuse by best friend, and highest educational level of parents/ guardian. On the economic front, it was found out that there was a positive correlation between the amounts of pocket money a student received per term and drug abuse, and there was a statistically significant association between abuse of drugs and whether the parent/guardian owned a motor vehicle. The odds of a student taking any drugs were 2 times higher if their parent/guardian owned a motor vehicle, urbanite students were more prone to drug abuse than their rural counterparts, and the odds of a student taking any drugs were 4 times higher if they had access to the internet. The researcher recommends that measures be put in place to enforce existing laws governing drug sector, school curriculum be enriched to better handle drug abuse, and more research to be done to ascertain the long term effects of drug abuse in relation to age of onset of drug use.