Factors affecting Drug and Substance Abuse
Peer pressure is one of the key factors affecting drug and substance abuse. World Drug report indicated that drug users seek approval from their peers to join their habit as a way of seeking acceptance . Majority of the students in universities and colleges are surrounded by their peers who are experimenting for recreational purposes. This factor is further fueled by the desire to experience something unique. Students in universities are normally in the process of exploring different aspects of their lives in a new environment, it is common for them to dig deep into drug and substance experimentation. Being away from their friends and families creates a need to fit in with majority of them feeling the best way to fit is to be like rest of the students, attend parties organized in school, get drunk and high. The lack of guardian monitoring and supervision provides unlimited freedom to most university students to act or behave as they please, making them vulnerable to try out drugs.  found out that drug and substance abuse was more prevalent among students in third year and fourth year as compared to those in first and second year. This was because majority of the first-year students lacked exposure to freedom and drug and substance abuse and was aware they were in a Christian University environment.
Upbringing plays a major role in drug and substance use and abuse.  noted that the more members of a household who engage in drug and substance abuse, the greater the chances that the younger members of that family students will engage in drug and substance abuse. Parents are not only role models for their children’s behavior, but also older siblings have an impact to their younger siblings by involving them in drug and substance abuse activities such as getting them alcohol, beer or a pack of cigarettes . According to a study done in a Christian university, majority of the respondents involved in drug use and substance abuse had witnessed their fathers using alcohol and abusing other drugs implying that parents drug use and substance abuse was also a major influential factor to drugs and substance abuse in their children especially as they are experiencing their youth. It also indicated that, parents are neglecting their responsibilities in raising the youth leaving them to influence their characters and behaviors through the media.
 found out that social media and cultural identity in drug and substance use and abuse among African and African American university students to follow musicians and rappers for fan-bases. The Hip-hop genre of music with African American was found to influence the black culture. People abuse drugs and substances with most of the music videos clearly depicting the use of alcohol and cannabis sativa. African American culture therefore is believed to influence the use of drugs and other substances especially through social media in different ways such as the presence of drug and substance abuse on television. Majority of the students perceive these celebrities as role models. Modeling plays an important role in learning of a new behavior hence they tend to copy their attitudes, beliefs, habits, and behaviors including drug use and substance abuse.
Having trouble in school, exams and lack of tuition fees have been proved to cause stress to university and college students. Students believe that the best way to relieve the stress and forget the negative thoughts is to use drugs and substances. University students who try to balance between course workload and part time jobs are most likely rely on drugs as a coping mechanism. Despite the course work overload, part time jobs, attachments, internships, and practicums long hours, it has been noted that majority of the students in the health and science schools have more pessimistic attitudes leading them to be prone and vulnerable to drug and substance abuse . Anxiety and uncertainties of becoming adults among majority of the students in higher learning institutions was also found to be a leading cause of the youth engaging in drug and substance abuse. This was due to the everyday challenges faced in life and the problems that come with it such as new responsibilities and financial freedom. Loneliness because of abandonment either by a parent, girlfriend, boyfriend or friends brought about drug and substance abuse as a means to escape the constant pain and hurt of being abandoned. Students still dealing with child trauma such as neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse are most likely to engage in drug and substance abuse.
The environment surrounding the universities plays a major role in drug and substance abuse. The availability and ease of access of these drugs was also found to be a major influential factor in Drug and substance abuse.  noted that easy access to drugs creates an environment that easily enables the onset of drug and substance abuse and enhances the increased use of these substances. Easy access to drug and other psychoactive substances reduces the barriers to acquiring these substances which in turn lead to potential substance use and abuse. The availability of alcohol outlets such as stores and bars selling liquor, beer, and wine among other drugs has been linked to a higher alcohol consumption rate among college students and adults living within that proximity.  noted that visual exposure to these drugs and other psycho active substances either through advertisements, promotions and marketing are common at different alcohol outlets lead to craving of these substances leading to potential use and abuse. Residing in neighborhoods associated with higher level of alcohol sales and consumption is found to be a stimulating factor in potential alcohol and substance abuse as compared to neighborhoods with ease of access to places of worship, libraries and after school programs.
The residence of the university students was also an influential factor in drug and substance.  established that drug and substance abuse is rampant in many of the students who resided in private hostels outside campus. this group of students confessed to alcohol and substance abuse as compared to those who resided with their parents who came in as the second majority while the students that resided in university hostels reported the lowest levels of engaging in drug and substance abuse . This was a result of private hostels outside school do not uphold strict rules and regulation on drug and substance abuse within their premises as compared to the university hostels. Landlords avoid the risk of losing their tenants by enforcing strict rules and regulations on them and thus these students are free to exercise their freedom in the use and abuse of drugs and other substances is practiced.
The role of religion was also stated as a significant factor in drug use and substance abuse. Some researchers established in their findings that alcohol was commonly used in religious ceremonies among the orthodox Christians while “khat” was used for prayers among the Muslim religious leaders . Some of the students saw this as a way in which religious leaders are promoting the use and abuse of these substances. However, evidence-based studies have found out that majority of the students in spiritual universities are less likely to be involved in drug and substance abuse. Faith is believed to protect both young men and women from drug use and substance abuse. A lot of research studies show that faith among young people acts as a powerful obstruction towards drug and substance abuse.
Effect of Drug and Substance Abuse
The use of psychoactive substances among university students is a major global public health problem. The prevalence of substance abuse has been reported to be on the rise in countries throughout the world such as Iran and Brazil and in some African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia . Although the substance of choice used by learners may not be similar in all areas, there are some substances that are common at a global scale, and these include alcohol, cigarette, dagga or marijuana or cannabis and cocaine .
Drug abuse is a growing social problem which endangers abuser’s health and productivity. Every abused drug influences the abuser in the short term or long term. A user’s mental abilities such as judgment are severely impaired by use of drugs in addition to exposure of the user to addiction and diseases’ . Drugs and substance abuse can alter a person's thinking and judgment, leading to health risks, including addiction, drugged driving, and infectious disease.
The high prevalence of substance use is a major concern for public health because it carries significant health risks. It also contributes to social problems such as crime and violence, with students who use substances being more likely to experience violent acts and being involved in criminal activities . Students who use substances often experience injuries in road accidents and fights, which are sometimes fatal. Substance use is also associated with risky sexual behaviours, scholastic problems like dropping out of school, and physical and mental health problems that include depressive symptoms. Substance use carries significant health risks to learners and increases both morbidity and mortality. Blood-borne infections such as hepatitis C and HIV have been reported to be common amongst people who use injectable drugs . Substance use also contributes to risky sexual behaviour because sexual inhibition is negatively affected by the effects of the substances used.
Alcohol abuse and addiction can also lead to destructive behavior such as driving under the influence of alcohol and domestic violence. The side effects of alcohol abuse include the hangover, in which headaches, nausea, and vomiting continue after a drinker is no longer actually intoxicated or experiencing the alcohol high. Weight gain and high blood pressure can result from repeated overconsumption of alcohol, and long-term overconsumption of alcohol can raise the risk of depression, liver damage, cancer, depression of the immune system, reduced sexual performance. Alcohol use can also have serious consequences for expecting and breastfeeding mothers and their babies, including fetal alcohol syndrome.
Drugs can disrupt a person’s ability to think and communicate rationally, or even to recognize reality, sometimes resulting in bizarre or dangerous behavior. Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs which have street names like acid, angel dust, and vitamin K, distort the way a user perceives time, motion, colors, sounds and self. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea made in the Amazon from a DMT-containing plant (Psychotria viridis) along with another vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) that prevents the natural breakdown of DMT in the digestive system, thereby enhancing serotonergic activity. Ayahuasca cause emotions to swing wildly and real-world sensations to appear unreal, sometimes frightening. Dissociative drugs like Phencyclidine (PCP) ketamine, dextromethorphan, and Salvia divinorum may make a user feel out of control and disconnected from their body and environment.
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Its short-term effects include narrowed blood vessels; enlarged pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; headache; abdominal pain and nausea; euphoria; increased energy, alertness; insomnia, restlessness; anxiety; erratic and violent behavior, panic attacks, paranoia, psychosis; heart rhythm problems, heart attack; stroke, seizure, coma.
Marijuana is also called weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja and Mary Jane. Marijuana is made from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Marijuana impairs short-term memory and judgment and distorts perception; it can impair performance in school or at work and make it dangerous to drive. It also affects brain systems that are still maturing through young adulthood, so regular use by teens may have negative and long-lasting effects on their cognitive development, putting them at a competitive disadvantage and possibly interfering with their well-being in other ways. Also, contrary to popular belief, marijuana can be addictive, and its use during adolescence may make other forms of addiction more likely. Short-term effects include enhanced sensory perception and euphoria followed by drowsiness/relaxation; slowed reaction time; problems with balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; problems with learning and memory and anxiety.
Substance use tends to peak between the ages of 18 and 25 years with university students being at higher risk for the vice if compared to non-college peers. Alcohol use amongst university students was a major public health disquiet. Substance use among college and university students was likely to interfere with their studies and as result their career development ends in jeopardy. Majority of the studies done on alcohol and drug abuse in low and middle-income countries have.
This has an impact on the students' learning activities. Drug abuse leads to poor class attendance and poor performance that sometimes led to discontinuation from the university. The cases of alcohol abuse were many substances abuse particularly use of marijuana (bhang) had been linked to mental health problems. Participants in this study confirmed witnessing students with mental disorders which after follow-up was established to be associated with the intake of bhang. They gave an example of a student who was rescued after attempted suicide because of the effects of bhang. Rape cases, sodomy and physical assaults were among other effects resulting from drug abuse.