Perceptions of drug and substance abuse among undergraduate students at Makerere University
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The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of drug and substance abuse among students at Makerere University. A case study approach was used to gain an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon being studied, that is, the use of drugs and substances at Makerere University. I conducted the study among undergraduate students at School of Social Sciences. The findings show what the students perceive drug and substance abuse as a common practice. The participants revealed the commonly used type of drugs and substances are weed, alcohol and shisha. Other types like marijuana, kuber and cocaine are rarely used but available around campus. The participants also revealed that there are new types of drugs on the market including oris and afro being used by the students. The study revealed that weed is perceived as the commonly used drug among students. Weed is being modified by the suppliers known as plugs which makes it easy to be consumed in disguise of edibles like cookies and cakes. The perceived risk factors pushing students into use of drugs include; peer influence, lack of parental supervision, academic stress and relationship issues. There are a number of problems that are associated with use of drugs and substances and this includes health effects like liver, heart and kidney complications, addiction, and other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and isolation. There are as well social effects such as loss of friends, cases of violence through engaging in fights and strikes, self-harming acts like suicide. Drugs also have academic effects such as drop out of students. In conclusion, drug and substance abuse is a growing vice in the university and although illegal, this hazardous habit has been normalized thus affecting the students. The recommendations that can be put in place to curb this growing problem include strengthening and enforcing the laws so that the service points are stopped from supplying these drugs and substances. This includes ensuring routine inspection and checking of halls and hostels of residence. Additionally, promoting the counseling services in the university by making them more accessible and encouraging the students to take up such services. The university should get more active in promoting the drug and substance prevention clubs to educate and sensitize the students against this habit.