Drug abuse has become a major problem in Kenya today especially among the teenagers and young adults. This drug problem has cut across the social status. Both the rich and the poor have been affected by substance abuse in their teenagers. Parents have majorly assumed their children are safe whereby the children use substances without their parent’s knowledge (Chege et al., 2018).
Drug abuse among teenagers
Drug abuse among teenagers just as in adults has no one major risk. One major risk and cause to substance abuse among teenagers is peer influence. This majorly lies in whom the teenagers are interacting and relating with. Peers have exposed their fellow teenagers to substances through introducing them to substance use physically or through social media where they emulate the images and behaviors they see on drug abuse (Basyoni et al., 2021).
In addition, familial risk factors are also contributors to drug abuse in emerging adulthood. They include; childhood abuse by a family member and neglect from parents, presence of family members who abuse drugs, poor child-parent relationship, and parents’ divorce (Basyoni et al., 2021). Family history of substance abuse and mental health issues are also risk factors for substance use among teenagers. Mental disorders could lead to drug abuse in pursuit of self-medication to curb the symptoms that come with addiction to the substance and mental illnesses.
Self identity and drug abuse
Teenagers lack of self-identity, assertiveness, low self-esteem and experiences such as bullying, physical and sexual abuse have been linked to increased number of adolescents abusing drugs as a way to escape the trauma and as a way to be accepted in cases of low self-image(Basyoni et al., 2021).
Chege, R., Mungai, P., & Oresi, S. (2018). An investigation of the factors contributing to drug and substance abuse among the youth in Kenya: a survey of select rehabilitation centres in Mombasa County. International Journal of Public Health, 1(5), 53-70.
Basyoni, A. M., Mohamed, A. I. A. E. R., Ghazy, H. K. E. S., & Abdel-Daiem, N.A.K.(2021). Risk factors for adolescents’ substance abuse. Egyptian Nursing Journal, 18(3), 160.DOI: 10.4103/enj.enj_37_21
By Caroline Muthoni
Chiromo Hospital Group