Drug abuse and parental knowledge on factors predisposing the youth to drugs and substance abuse in Nairobi Province, Kenya
Gikonyo, Mercy Wairimu
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Adolescence and young adulthood are periods most associated with the onset of drug abuse worldwide. The fact that the Kenyan youth is at peril is indisputable. The youth being the future generation for any community clearly indicate that there is a need for initiatives to be targeted towards young people for the prevention of substance use and abuse. Any effective control or prevention will have to focus on demand and control structures as well as the empowerment of custodians of the children. Parents are expected to be the first custodians of their children. The objective of this study was to assess the parental awareness about drug abuse by the youth in Nairobi Province, Kenya. It also sought to find out relational problems between parents and their offspring that could precipitate this problem and how this could be modified. This was a descriptive cross-sectional study, which was carried out in drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation enters. Interviews were used to find in-depth information on parents' knowledge on drug abuse. From this study, it was found that most of the parents had fair knowledge on drug abuse (63%) although their knowledge was poor at the point when the children begun to take drugs. They had poor knowledge on existence of help services for drug abuse as all the parents studied had to be introduced by another party to the rehabilitation centers and they took more than 6 months to seek help (94.7%). A sizeable number of the parents (74.4%) were not aware of the age when their children started abusing drugs. More than half (62.2%) of the parents had never expected that their children would be involved in drug abuse, 32.6% associated and expected drug abuse to be found among street children, 41.3% from well to do homes and 26.1% from poor homes (J=8.31,df=3,p<0.05). A significantly higher number of parents with formal education had children abusing drugs ()?=17.4, df=5 p<0.01). Although there was no significant association between the occupation of a parent and their expectation that their child could abuse drugs (1-2=4.88, df=2 p>0.05), there were more cases of drug abuse among children of parents in formal and informal employment than there were for the unemployed. Most of the drug abusers had good knowledge about drugs but most of them had not known their health effects when they begun (90.2%). Majority (56.1 %) had drug-abusing parents. There was a strong association between reasons leading a child into taking drugs and one's position in the family 0=11.17, df =4, p=<0.002). The results of this study will be useful in designing strategies for parents as guidelines for developing and implementing personal programmes of primary prevention as a way of influencing their children against drug abuse as a lifestyle.
- MST-Zoological Sciences