Substance use among the youth at Chaminade Boys Secondary School in Karonga District, Malawi

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The aim of this study was to describe the present situation of substance use the youth at Chaminade Boys Secondary School in Karonga district. Substance use among adolescents and the youth continues to be a major public health and socioeconomic problem worldwide. Substance use is harmful for the adolescents and it leads to decreased academic performance, increased risk of contracting Human Immunodeficiency Virus, other sexually transmitted infections and mental health related problems. A quantitative study was done utilising a cross sectional descriptive design. The study was conducted, guided by four specific objectives; to determine the extent of substance use among the youth, to investigate the commonly used substances among the youth, to investigate the factors that influence the youth to use substances and to determine the knowledge level of the youth on the consequences of substance use. The study took place at Chaminade Boys Secondary school. The target population were males 18 years and above in forms 1 to 4 at Chaminade Boys Secondary School in Karonga district, Malawi. The sample size was 144 respondents. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the study respondents. The self-reported semi- structured questionnaire was used as an instrument of data collection. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software Version 20. The study results showed that the 52.8 % of the respondents were using substance and 47.2 % had never used substances. The most commonly used substances were cannabis sativa 69.4 % and alcohol 66.0 %. The results also showed that there was a strong positive association between reasons for substance use and religious affiliations. The association was found p=0.03 < 0.05. Substance use among the students was prevalent. Based on the above results the researcher suggests to initiate awareness and coordination program with nearest health facility. Hence, there is need for collaborative initiatives in developing intervention strategies that will reduce substance use among adolescents and the youth. Laws and policies that facilitate and reinforce parents and educators in controlling substance use among adolescents should be clearly be put in place and be implementable.