Who Guards the Guards: Drug Use Pattern Among Medical Students in a Nigerian University

Author(s): Babalola EO, Akinhanmi A, Ogunwale A

Background: Several studies have examined the prevalence and pattern of substance use among medical students in Nigeria. Few of these studies have specifically examined the relationship between the psychological distress and psychoactive substance use among these students. Yet, evidence world-wide suggests that substance use among medical students might be on the rise and may be related to the level of stress among them. Aim: The present study is the first study aimed to determine the prevalence, pattern and factors associated with psychoactive substance use among medical students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: The World Health Organization student drug use questionnaire was used to evaluate for substance use among 246 clinical medical students between September and October 2011. General health questionnaire (GHQ) 12 was used to assess for psychological distress among these students. Statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 16. (Chicago, USA). Proportions were compared using the Chi‑square test while a value of P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Fisher exact test was used instead of Chi-square when the number in the cell is less than 5. Results: Lifetime prevalence of substance use among medical students was 65% (165/246). It was found that the most commonly used substances were alcohol 63.4% (156/246), mild stimulants 15.6% (38/246), tobacco 15% (37/246) and sedatives 6.1% (15/246). Substance use was associated with gender, frequency of participation in religious activities and GHQ scores. Conclusion: Psychoactive substance use is a major problem among medical students. Psychological well‑being plays a significant role in substance use among these students. There is a need for adequate screening and assessment for substance use disorders among these students and incorporating stress management strategies in their curriculum.


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