Effectiveness of drug and substance abuse prevention programs in selected public and private universities in Kenya
Substantial outcry about the problem of drug and substance abuse and its rippling effects echoes from many sectors of the society today. Families, learning institutions and places of work undergo agonizing consequences of drug abuse. In the university, the problem is rampant aggravated by many factors such as personal independence, a lot of free time, a wide range of demands on the individual student, psychosocial impact of interpersonal interactions, transition to university life and making new peers. Drug and substance abuse impacts negatively not only on student abusers and the university goal attainment but also causes problems to students who don‟t abuse drugs, their families and care providers. In response to this problem, universities have established prevention programs and Social Support Services to implement interventions. Information from the literature review demonstrates that some prevention programs can be effective whereas others may not be. This study sought to assess effectiveness of drug abuse prevention programs in selected Public and Private Universities in Kenya with specific objectives which were to establish; objectives of various levels of prevention programs and activities, implementation methods, student utilization of prevention activities, challenges facing prevention services and factors which sustain drug abuse in the universities. Self-efficacy and Ecological Systems Theories including principles for effective prevention programs endowed insight into this study. It was a cross-sectional survey applying both qualitative and quantitative techniques to benefit from their complementary nature. This study was carried out in 2 Public and 2 Private Universities in Kenya. Multi-stage sampling techniques were employed in selection of 499 respondents consisting of 395 students and 104 Social Service Providers. Four data collection tools consisting of Student Questionnaire, Focus Group Discussions, Qualitative Interview Schedule and Structured Observation Guide were used. Data analysis was done with the aid of SPSS and NVIVO 10. Findings revealed homogeneity in respondents‟ characteristics and use of drug abuse (Chi-square P-value, 0.145) amongst universities under study. Findings demonstrated that primary prevention level was the predominant intervention activity with low rate (30.8%) student awareness of prevention programs and activities. It also showed poor student participation (14.1%), inadequate resources, poor implementation methods and negative student attitude being the major challenges to effective implementation. Study findings revealed that drug abuse is sustained by factors related to social, psychological, economic and cultural. The study recommended to DSAPP to apply scientifically based approaches. It recommended to the University Management provision of comprehensive support to DSAPP. It was recommended to NACADA to strengthen personnel training and dissemination of information at all educational levels and in all counties. This study also recommended to the Ministry of Education to integrate Drug abuse courses in the curriculum in all education levels from Primary to the university. Suggestion for further research should target specific drugs and prevention models which are contextual to universities in Kenya.