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Substance Abuse, School Absenteeism Among Adolescents Still High

Substance Abuse, School Absenteeism Among Adolescents Still High

In 2019/2020, a projected seven million adolescents missed a total of three months of classes, according to a Ministry of Health survey.

The Kenya Adolescent Health Survey 2019/2020, published on Friday, indicates that between 15 and 19 years of age, more than 2 million adolescents smoked and abused alcohol.

The survey reveals that approximately 348,000 adolescents, or 3% of the youth population, inhaled cigarettes.

The same number was discovered to be marijuana abusers. Approximately one million adolescents, or 9 percent, abused alcohol during the period under review.

However, on the bright side, approximately 11 million attended classes and 10 million were enrolled in school.

According to the survey, the number of students who skipped class was equal to the number who abused alcohol and narcotics.

A section of the survey states that pproximately 94% have ever attended school, 87% are now enrolled, and 60% were absent from school for 1 to 5 days in the past three months.

In the report, the substance most frequently used by adolescents aged 15 to 19 was alcohol at 9.9 percent, followed by tobacco at 9 percent and alcohol at 3 percent. The prevalence of khat use was 1.5%, followed by cannabis at 0.9% and cocaine at 0.1%.

According to the report, boys are more likely to abuse substances than girls, at 3.3% compared to 1.3% for females. “The majority of respondents who reported ever using a substance were male (3,3%) as opposed to female (1,3%).

Alcohol, khat, and cannabis were the most commonly used substances by adolescent females, accounting for 4.9%, 1.5%, and 0.9%, respectively.

Male adolescents recorded higher substance use than female adolescents, with the majority of those surveyed who reported substance use having done so before the age of 15,” the report notes.

Alcohol, followed by cigarettes, was the substance most frequently used by adolescents in Kenya.

During the survey, no female participants admitted to taking a stimulant of the amphetamine type (Cloud 9), while 0.2% of male adolescents had done so.

According to the report, adolescents obtain substances by purchasing them in markets or from street vendors, obtaining them from their peers, sending someone else to purchase for them, or obtaining them from their residences.

Their relatives also provide a number of social events, such as school functions and gatherings.

The study found a correlation between substance abuse and mental illness among adolescents in the country.

In terms of substance abuse, Western region ranked highest at 27.8 percent, followed by Lower Eastern at 23% and Nairobi at 1.6%.

Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety were prevalent in the Lower Eastern region, with respective rates of 22,2 and 17,3 percent, while Nairobi recorded 10,1 and 9,9 percent.

In contrast, the Central region, which has historically recorded more cases of substance and alcohol abuse among adults, scored at least 1.9%.

“At the national level, more adolescents reported depression symptoms (7.2%) than anxiety (6%),” reads a section of the report.

The primary purpose of the study was to evaluate the health-related knowledge, attitude, behavior, demographic and clinical characteristics, and access to services among Kenyan adolescents aged 10 to 19 years.

Moreover, the majority of male adolescents, 81.9%, spent their own money on companions, followed by entertainment (65%) and beauty products (55.2%).

72.9 percent of female counterparts were found to spend their money on a partner, followed by 47.4 percent on entertainment and 31 percent on beauty products. The adolescents are also said to have spent money on narcotics and substances.

2.1% of adolescents reported spending money on drugs and alcohol, and 81.2% of them reported using their own money. 2,8 percent of respondents reported spending money on sports wagering, with 90,5 percent claiming to have used their own funds.

In terms of personal harmful expenditures, male adolescents spent more money on sports betting, followed by drugs and alcohol (90.55 and 81.2%, respectively) than their female counterparts (22.3% and 18.1%).

In the meantime, the survey discovered that youth-friendly facilities improve adolescents’ health and information access.

At least 57 percent of the facilities guaranteed that the client information of adolescents would be protected, with Nyanza South recording the highest percentage of such facilities.

Nationally, just six percent of the sampled medical centers reported denying services to adolescents, with the highest percentage (27 percent) in the Western region, while the Central, Lower Eastern, Nairobi, North Eastern, Nyanza South, and Rift Valley South regions reported no health facilities that denied services to adolescents.

The survey revealed that nutrition is also an important aspect of adolescent development. 11.6 percent of adolescents were slender or wasted, whereas 10.7 percent were overweight or obese, according to the study.

Substance Abuse, School Absenteeism Among Adolescents Still High

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