Drug and substance abuse among community health trainees: implications for primary health care delivery in Nigeria.

Bassey PE1*, Aniekpeno U1
1Public Health Department, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
*Correspondence: Philip Etabee Bassey; +234 805 644 6816; pembassey@yahoo.com

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Background: The harmful use of psychoactive substances including alcohol and illicit drugs, is a global public health issue that promotes anti-social behaviours and vices particularly among youths.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and determinants of drugs/substance abuse among the students of the College of Health Technology, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria and its possible effect on health care delivery in the State.
Materials and Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted between January and March 2016 using a self-administered questionnaire to obtain information on the use of drugs/substances among 176 randomly selected students. Data was analysed using the SPSS version 20 software.Statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 18. (Chicago, USA).l and the results were reported as percentages in tables and figures.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 22 years; 41(23.3%) were males while (135)76.7% were females. 20(48.8%) and 46(34.1%) of the males and females respectively have used drugs/substances. Alcohol was the most commonly abused substance; used either singly (53%) or in combination with other substances (21.2%).
Lifetime prevalence of drugs / substance use among the students was 37.5%. There were more males (48.8%) current drugs/substances users compared to (34.1%) females. The commonly abused substances were alcohol (39.2%), cocaine (5.7%), nicotine (5.1%) and marijuana (4.0%). The predisposing factors for drug/substance abuse included peer group influence (28.8%), socio-economic problems (13.6%), means of enhancing academic performance (10.6%) and the satisfaction of curiosity (9.1%).
Conclusion: Colleges/Schools of health technology were established to train community health workers. These healthcare professionals are indispensable to the Nigerian healthcare system. They are the first-line primary healthcare (PHC) service providers. The abuse of drugs/substances among students of the schools of health technology therefore poses a serious threat to the development of the human resource for PHC delivery in Nigeria. Owing to the dearth of studies on the involvement of these cadre of students in drug use, our study brings to the fore an overlooked public health issue with dire implications for PHC delivery in Nigeria.

Keywords: Drugs, Substance, Drug-abuse, Addiction.

Cite this article: Bassey PE, Aniekpeno U. Drug and substance abuse among community health trainees: implications for primary health care delivery in Nigeria. Yen Med J. 2021;3(1):47–58.


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