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Prevalence and Correlates of Substance Use in Tertiary Institutions in South Africa: The case study of the University of Venda, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Prevalence and Correlates of Substance Use in Tertiary Institutions in South Africa: The case study of the University of Venda, Limpopo Province, South Africa

 

Abstract: Substance use is a serious problem in tertiary institutions in South Africa. Students use substances for many reasons: dealing with depression, celebrating social events, imitating role models and getting relief from loneliness and/or self-doubt, among others. Substance use has a lot of negative effects including injury, assault, rape, poor academic performance and even death. It becomes problematic when students are distracted from their studies as a result of substance abuse. South Africa does not have reliable data concerning substance use except cross-section research studies and information on police arrest seizures. In a survey conducted at the University of Venda (Univen) concerning substance use on campus, 209 randomly selected students were interviewed and the results show that 63 per cent use alcohol and 35 per cent use drugs, 49 per cent of which abuse the drugs. Chi-square tests showed the following variables as correlates of substance use: sex, religion, family’s monthly income, staying on campus, age and peer pressure, while logistic regression analysis reduced the variables to three: peer pressure, religion and staying on campus for alcohol; peer pressure, family’s monthly income and religion for drugs. The study recommended that students be wary of the type of friends they keep because while some students are academically conscientious, others are distracted and not committed to their studies, thus destroying their families’ hopes and expectations. Given that the study found that the religious students were less prone to abusing substances, the study recommends that School authorities encourage students to be religious.

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