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Students’ knowledge of drug misuse at Al-Maarif College in Al-Ramady City

Author(s): Ahmad Shihab Ahmad1, Nedhal A. Al_Douri2, Abd Uljaleel A.Q3, Ashwaq Najemaldeen Abbas4
1Nursing Department of Nursing, Al Manara College of medical sciences, Maysan, Al Amara, IRAQ.
2Department of Pharmacy, Al-Manara College of medical sciences, Maysan, Al\_Amara, IRAQ.
3Department of Pharmacy, Al-Zahrawi University College, Karbala, Iraq.
4College of Dentistry, Department of Pharmacy, University of Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.


Among teenagers and adults in both developed and underdeveloped countries, drug abuse is the most often mentioned psychiatric problem. Although young individuals use drugs more than older people, drug addiction is a worldwide issue among both youth and elderly people. The study intends to assess students’ knowledge regarding drug abuse and find differences between their knowledge and sociodemographic features. Descriptive study design among 200 convenience sample non-probabilistically chosen students. Two sections make up the study tool: knowledge scale and socioeconomic demographic traits. Interview data gathered at Al-Maarif College in Al-Ramady City. According to the results, 68(34%) of students between the ages of 19 and 21 paid first and second stage from Al-Maarif College; 106(53%) of them are men, 124(62%) have moderate socioeconomic level. With mean and standard deviation of 67.45±13.84, 74% of students had a moderate degree of awareness regarding drugs misuse. Students’ knowledge with age, sex, and socioeconomic level at p values (0.000, 0.000, and 0.003) respectively shows a strong statistically significant link. In general, students knew just a minor degree of drug abuse. Medical education is often seen as somewhat difficult.

1. Introduction

Some chemicals have been used and abused by humans since the beginning of time. Whether it’s a conscious or unconscious drive, people from all walks of life have always sought delight in accomplishing goals in the hopes of escaping the boredom, aggravation, and pains of daily life. The same holds true for substances like weed, alcohol, and cigarettes [1]. It is implied that drugs should be used to build, not destroy, repair, and mend rather than deplete. Substances with the ability to modify a living being’s biological system through their chemical actions include those that affect perception, thought, temperament, behavior, and general bodily functioning [2]. In both industrialized and developing nations, drug abuse is the most talked-about mental health concern among teenagers and adolescents. Addiction and mental health issues have grown in tandem with the pervasiveness of drug use for recreational or altered states of consciousness.

When a person takes drugs or other substances in a way that isn’t typical, they are committing substance abuse. Addiction is defined as the misuse of any relevant substance over an extended period of time. Substance abuse and addiction can lead to a host of issues for the addict and those close to them. At some point, people who abuse substances start actively seeking them out. People who are just starting to abuse substances may already have the desire to raise both the dosage and the frequency with which they use them. Substance abusers lose their lives at alarming rates each year, with many succumbing to overdose and others developing HIV/AIDS [3].

Any non-medical use of drugs, typically with the intention of altering consciousness, is considered drug abuse. Substances that alter a person’s mental or physical condition and can be used repeatedly to achieve that effect can be termed drug abuse, and they can lead to abnormalities. They indicated that “enjoyment” and “curiosity” were very important in determining whether or not they would use a substance [4]. Addiction to drugs is a worldwide epidemic, affecting both young and old people; however, the former have a higher percentage of usage. Substance misuse affects people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, while the specific drugs abused vary by region [5]. Rewarding the abuser is inherently bad for drug misuse. For example, inhaling marijuana can cause an abnormal increase in appetite or thirst, erratic mood swings, excessive talking, impaired perception, disorganized judgment, mental illnesses, a sense of well-being and euphoria, and the elimination of worry [6].

More than 17.4 million people, ranging in age from 12 to 25, were involved in illegal drug addition in 2018, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. eight [7].

Worldwide, 269 million people experimented with drugs in 2018, with over 35 million people abusing them; among these, cannabis accounted for the highest volume of abuse and popularity among hard substances. Estimates put the global cannabis abuse population at 192 million, but the number of fatalities attributable to opioid use disorders is far higher at 71%; this figure includes a 92% increase for women and a 63% increase for me [8]. There can be a lot of factors contributing to the rising number of drug users, particularly among university students. In their own words, students have stated a variety of reasons for using drugs, including but not limited to: improving academic performance, increasing personal pleasure, relieving tension, staying awake, succumbing to peer pressure, being social, increasing sex pleasure, and even as a religious practice [9]. Drug misuse has been more common in recent times, particularly among young people who utilize drugs for recreational purposes as well as medicinal ones. Their overall health has been suffering as a result of these various detrimental impacts. No matter how good or bad a medicine is, it will always cause some kind of physiological change. On the other hand, students can’t make informed decisions regarding their health if they don’t have a foundation in natural science that explains how the human body works and how drug usage might impact different parts of the body [6].

In terms of university administration and management, drug and substance addiction was one of the most common and challenging concerns confronting the majority of institutions. Tragic and profoundly altering, the impacts on the pupils were immense. The situation has gotten worse due to the rapid social and technological improvements that corrupt university students. Addiction was a major problem that affected families, schools, and communities. If one wants to know which students are most likely to abuse drugs or become addicted to them, they must first determine how much they know about drug abuse and addiction. The study’s overarching goal was to gauge students’ familiarity with drug misuse and see whether there was any correlation between that familiarity and other characteristics.

Objectives of the study: The study aim to evaluation of students’ knowledge about drugs abuse, and identify Difference between students’ knowledge and sociodemographic characteristics.

2. Methods

2.1. Study design:

Descriptive study design conducted at the period of 4th of December 2023 to 28th March 2024 to evaluate of students’ knowledge about drugs abuse at Al-Maarif College in Al-Ramady Ciy.

2.2. Sitting and sampling:

The study sample is 200 students that age (19-21) years contributed among first and second stages from Al-Maarif college. sample were selected by Non-probability sampling (convenience sample).

2.3. Instrument:

The study tool is a questionnaire composed from two parts. first part related to the socio demographic characteristics of the sample (age, sex, and socioeconomic status). The second part is the students’ knowledge regarding drug abuse to assess student’s knowledge regarding drug abuse, it was adopted from [10]. It was consisting of 12 questions, used to find student knowledge toward drug abuse.

The knowledge scores are determined on the basis of one point for the correct answer and zero for the incorrect answer or the answer is not known. The overall knowledge score is 12 (The representation of the knowledge score will be distributed as

  • Good level of knowledge: >75 %,

  • Satisfactory level of knowledge: 50- 75 %,

  • Poor level of knowledge: < 50 %

2.4. Validity and Reliability:

The instrument is valid in the previous study according to panel of expert and reliable according to the Cronbach’s alpha for reliability test was performed students’ knowledge evaluation questionnaire was 0.87.

2.5. Ethical consideration:

The researcher explains the study and the objectives to the sample and ask them to participate in the study. After take the sample agreement, the investigator collect the data through use of interview method.

2.6. Data analysis:

The statistical data analysis done by (SPSS) version 22 through use of descriptive and inferential statistical data analysis.

3. Results

Table 1: Distribution the demographic characteristics of students
Variables Frequency Percent
Age 18 47 23.5
19 68 34.0
20 55 27.5
21 30 15.0
Total 200 100.0
Gender Female 94 47.0
Male 106 53.0
Total 200 100.0
Socioeconomic status Low 22 11.0
Moderate 124 62.0
High 54 27.0
Total 200 100.0

The finding in this Table 1 shows that 68(34%) of students at age (19) years, 106(53%) are males, 124(62%) of them have moderate socioeconomic status.

Table 2: Distribution of students’ knowledge about drugs abuse
Level of knowledge Frequency Percent
Low (less than 50%) 31 15.5
Moderate (50-75%) 140 70.0
High (more than 75%) 29 14.5
Total 200 100.0
Mean and standard deviation 67.54±13.84

This finding in Table 2 shows that 74% of students had moderate level of knowledge about drugs abuse. The overall mean score and standard deviation was (67.45±13.84).

P= p value, Sig= significant, HS= high significant, S=significant, NS= non- significant There is significant statistical relationship between students’ knowledge with age, sex and socioeconomic status at p value (0.000, 0.000, and 0.003) respectively Table 3 and Figure 1.

Table 3: Relationship between students’ knowledge and sociodemographic characteristic
Variables Knowledge Total Chi square
Low Moderate High
Age 18 0 43 4 47 Chi=73.589
19 6 61 1 68
20 15 18 22 55
21 10 18 2 30
Total 31 140 29 200
Sex Female 0 83 11 94 Chi=36.93
Male 31 57 18 106
Total 31 140 29 200
Socioeconomicstatus Low 3 15 4 22 Chi=15.854
Moderate 25 76 23 124
High 3 49 2 54
Total 31 140 29 200


Half or more of the students in this study were under the age of 19. The majority of students are between the ages of 19 and 25, according to a comparable study by Nneka et al. [8]. According to Qadhi et al., the students’ ages range from 19 to 21 [11]. Regarding the gender breakdown of the student body, men made up over 50% of the total. According to Nneka et al., the vast majority of the pupils were men [8]. The results showed that students’ socioeconomic position falls into the intermediate range, accounting for more than half of the total.

As regard students’ level of knowledge about drug misuse, the finding indicated that more than two-thirds of students had a moderate level of knowledge about drug abuse.

The students’ knowledge and perceptions of drug usage were found to be fair, according to Nneka et al. [8]. A related survey by Heckman et al. indicated that 78.6% of students believed that drug misuse could be managed if desired and that 41.6% of students were aware of the impacts of drugs. [12] Additionally, according to Khande’s survey, the majority of students (54%) had a mediocre understanding of drug abuse. Awosusi and Adegboyega [1] found that respondents’ substance usage decreased as their knowledge of the repercussions on their physical, social, and mental health increased. According to Njoroge’s research, students understanding of addiction risk factors was 79.1% and of drug abuse prevention strategies was 89.6%. Was aware of the negative consequences of substance misuse [13]. The participants in the study by Sood and Tanwar understood the importance of a good prescription in preventing drug misuse, the function of psychological dependence in addiction, and the therapeutic failure of drugs in addicts [14]. A large majority of pupils (92.1%) were found to have a solid understanding of drug addiction, according to Bashir et al. [9]. The results of these studies are consistent with the current investigation.

Qadhi et al. discovered that 52% of nursing and pharmacy students had inadequate understanding of the substances that cause addiction; this finding was consistent with our own. Three-quarters of college students surveyed by Elkazh and El Mahdy had an inadequate understanding of the dangers of drug usage. [15] One reason for the rise in drug use problems is the absence of education on the dangers of substance use among students, according to research by O’Malley and Johnston. One reason people use substances is because they don’t know enough about the dangers they pose. [16]. The majority of pupils lack understanding regarding drugs, according to Nurmala et al. [17]. An extremely substantial correlation exists between the ages of pupils and their levels of knowledge. The researchers, Nneka et al., discovered a statistically significant correlation between the ages of pupils and their level of knowledge [8]. A highly significant difference between students’ knowledge and age was discovered by Qadhi et al. [11].

There is a large and statistically significant correlation between students’ sex and their level of knowledge. Regardless of students’ gender, Nneka et al. discovered no statistically significant difference in their level of knowledge [8]. In terms of the correlation between students’ socioeconomic situation and their level of knowledge, the correlation is very strong.

5. Conclusion

Students’ knowledge on drug misuse was found to be moderate, according to the survey. A shift in perspective toward drugs is necessary, and medical education can help with that.

6. Recommendation

The rigors of medical school have long been acknowledged. Encouraging kids to gain a better understanding of the benefits, risks, and safe use of medications is crucial. Learn what leads people to abuse drugs.


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