Drugs and Substances of Abuse as A Coping Strategy Among the Boda-Boda Riders in Kampala.
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Boda boda riders face challenges that often lead to poor psychological outcomes, including depression and Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, which may persist throughout their lifetime. Several studies have also documented an association between socio-economic challenges and substance use and individuals may turn to substances to cope with the traumatic stress. The study investigated drug abuse as a coping mechanism to stress among boda-boda riders in Kampala and the specific objectives were to examine the challenges boda boda riders go through that can result into use of drugs and substances as a coping mechanism in Kampala, to examine the drugs and substances used by boda-boda when faced by life challenges in Kampala and to examine the extent to which boda boda riders use drugs and substances as a coping mechanism in Kampala. A descriptive design was used for the study and this was combined with qualitative and quantitative approaches. Data was collected from 19 boda boda riders using a questionnaire and 8 key informants using interview guides. The study found that Boda Boda riders go through challenges with police officers, road structure challenges, customers related challenges, home related challenges, economic challenges. These challenges resulted into stress putting a risk of using the drugs and substances abuse. Most of the boda boda riders were using drugs and substances once faced with challenges and the substances used included alcohol, marijuana, Khat, kubar, petrol/aviation fuel, cigarettes, and cocaine and heroin. These substances were mostly used while they were at their work stations. Lastly, to a greater extent the boda boda riders were using drugs and substance as a coping mechanism. The boda boda riders used substances once confronted with problems, used to use drugs to overcome challenges, used drugs to feeling of happiness and joy, used drugs following any dispute and used drugs to improve their work performance. Based on the study results, there is need for Government and NGOs to design awareness campaigns to bodaboda riders and general public on dangers of using drugs and other substances. This would help to reduce the social problem of bodaboda riders using drugs and other substances.