Level of risk in substance use among undergraduate students in Kenya

Implications for prevention intervention


  • Jane Ngure Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi Kenya
  • Omulemba B. Egerton University, Nairobi Kenya
  • Chepchieng M. Egerton University, Nairobi Kenya




Substance use, level of risk, university students, prevention interventions


Despite the negative effects of substance use on university students, the level of risk of substance use and its implication on prevention interventions in Kenya is yet to be fully explored. The main objective of the study was to determine the level of risk in substance use among students and its implications on prevention interventions. Descriptive cross sectional survey research design was used. A World Health Organization questionnaire - Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) was adapted to measure the level of risk and student awareness of prevention interventions. The questionnaires were distributed to 1,500 participants from 12 universities across Kenya. An in-depth interview was conducted among the university counsellors to find out the efficacy of prevention interventions. Overall, lifetime prevalence for substance use was 48.6% and current prevalence rate was 37.9% among undergraduate students in Kenya. Public universities reported significantly higher prevalence of current use of substances than private universities. Those who had not used substances in the past three months before the study were 993 (69.5%), the low-risk users were 205 (14.3%), moderate risk users were at 187 (13.1%) and 44 (3.1%) of the respondents were high-risk users. Prevention interventions that were found in universities were mostly universal prevention strategies which targeted the entire student population without regard to the level of risk of individual students. The study concludes that substance use is a health problem in Kenyan universities and there is urgent need to develop and implement interventions that target moderate and high risk users.






Research article

How to Cite

Level of risk in substance use among undergraduate students in Kenya: Implications for prevention intervention . (2019). African Journal of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (AJADA), 1, 34-45. https://doi.org/10.82793/jc44fq86

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >>