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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 156-160

Substance abuse among medical students of a Nigerian University: Prevalence, factors influencing use, and effects on academic performance

1 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria
2 World Health Organization, Enugu Field Office, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Business Administration, Enugu State University (ESUT) Business School, Enugu, Nigeria
4 Department of Medicine, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
5 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Chinedu A Idoko
Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_73_22

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Background: Substance abuse is simply the use of illegal drugs, prescription/over-the-counter drugs as well as alcohol for purposes other than they are designated for, or in excessive amounts. Indulgence in these is high among students, with attendant negative consequences. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of substance use among the students, factors influencing use and the effect on academic performance. Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional descriptive study with respondents selected by simple random sampling. Structured questionnaires were self-administered and data analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Results: Caffeine (170/300, 56.7%) happened to be the substance mostly abused and cannabis least abused (6/300, 2%). The major reason for the excessive usage of caffeine was for alertness (215/300, 71.7%) during exams period. There was no significant association between drug use prevalence and improvement in respondents reading pattern/ability to effectively concentrate at lectures. However, there existed a significant association between respondents’ sociodemographics (age, sex) and prevalence of substance use (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Substance abuse is common among medical students and it is influenced by some sociodemographic factors. Substance use had no significant effect on the academics of the study participants. Stress management strategies/courses should be included in the medical education curriculum.

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