Drug abuse amongst youth and especially those schooling has become a major social problem not only in Kenya, but globally. Drug abuse amongst schooling youth has led to decline in their performance, increased drop out, increased cases of indiscipline and even death. Many studies have offered mixed or inconclusive findings on the causes of drug abuse amongst schooling youth especially those at primary level. The purpose of this was to establish how family factors, social economic status, community environment, and peer pressure influence drug and substance abuse amongst public primary school pupils in Nyamira, County. The study employed descriptive research survey design on class 6, 7, and 8 pupils and selected members of the guidance and counselling (G&C) departments. A sample of 220 pupils was selected from a population of 12045 pupils through proportionate stratified sampling together with 20 teachers from the G&C department who were purposively sampled. A semi- structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data from the pupils, while an interview schedule was used to collect qualitative data from the G&C teachers. For purposes of validity and reliability of the instruments, the questionnaire was piloted in five schools in Borabu Sub-County and their reliability was ascertained using Cronbach alpha. The reliability of the questionnaire item was well above 0.75. Quantitative data was analysed descriptively and inferentially using a Chi-square in SPSS version 23, and the stated hypothesis was rejected at 5% significance level. Qualitative data was transcribed and analysed thematically. The study established that decline in family nature and structure, coupled with failure by the community to have a united approach in drug abuse has negatively influenced the surge in drug and substance abuse amongst pupils in schools. It was evident from the findings that peer pressure seems to be a major precursor to earlier awareness and initiation into the use and abuse of drugs and substances. The study recommends active parental involvement in the schooling and upbringing of their children. The study further recommends that all stakeholders in education be involved in the fight of drug abuse either through policy legislation or by playing an active role in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Background of the Study
There is a worldwide upsurge of drug and substance abuse among different cohorts in society.The term drug abuse has been defined in many ways by different scholars and medical practitioners.Leonardi-Bee, Jere, and Britton (2011), defines drug abuse as the use of a drug with such frequency that it causes physical or mental harm to the user or impairs social functioning. Although the term seems to imply that it’s the drug which abuses the user, it is the user who abuses the drug. Leonardi-Bee et al. (2011), further alludes that drug abuse is a pattern of drug use that diminishes the ability to fulfill responsibility at home, work or school. The World Health Organization, WHO (2006) also defined drug abuse as a state of periodic or chronic intoxication, detrimental to the individual and to the society, produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic).

From the above definitions, drug abuse can refer to the inappropriate usage of legal drugs or the use of any substance that alter feelings or state of consciousness. It is also the inappropriate use of drugs in a manner or amount inconsistent with the medical or social patterns of a given culture. These patterns include all aspect of drug usage by the youths ranging from how much, how often and what type of drugs are used and under what circumstances. Drug abuse simply means the improper use of drugs to the degree that the consequences are defined as detrimental to the user and or the society. According to National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA, Drug and Substance Abuse in Tertiary Institutions in Kenya: A situationanal Analysis, 2006), a drug is any chemical substance which when taken into the body can affect one or more of the body’s functions. , define drugs as those substances which when injected, ingested or inhaled into the body system have the capacity to influence behaviour by altering feelings, mood, perception and other mental states.

Chebukaka (2014), observed that most of the drugs that are abused were first used for medicinal and recreational purposes. There is evidence that intentionally fermented alcohol existed from as early as 10,000BC when it was used in religion and worship, for recreation, medicinal use and quenching thirst by long distance travellers (Hanson, 1995). Marijuana was used as medicine from 2,737 BC in China then later in the 19th century, active substances used in production of drugs like cocaine and morphine were extracted and freely prescribed by physicians for various ailments and even sold over the counter until problems of addiction gradually started being recognised(Kremer & Levy, 2008). Goldberg (2013), asserts that the earliest record of prohibition of excessive use of alcohol was in 2000BC in Egypt, but it was not until 1956 that legal measures against Drug Abuse were first established in USA. By 1950, many Asian countries placed high priority on Drug Control policies and the death penalty was prescribed for trafficking or possession of opium and its derivatives like heroin. Despite this, opium and its derivatives are still widely used in Asia.

According to the World Drug Report (UNDCP, 2012), 1.3 billion people or 30% of the world population use tobacco and 230 million people, an equivalent of 5% of the world population, aged between 15 and 16 years use illegal drugs. Another report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), estimates that 22 million people in Europe use marijuana (EMCDDA, 2012). Currently Africa and Asia account for 70% of global population using opium and its derivatives (UNDCP, 2012). During the pre-colonial days, drug use was accepted in many African countries, but they were regulated among the adults since it was a privilege of the elders, more often than not the male ones. Further, drugs were used for religious purposes to invoke trance, to aid mediation or for ritualistic reasons as well as pain relief or curing diseases, (National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse, 2006). However, taboos, traditional values and family patterns which had for long given the society coherence, sense of belonging and identity have been disregarded and in some cases discarded altogether in our shrinking “global village”, resulting in drug abuse, even by children(Ondieki & Mokua, 2012).

There are many factors that influence drug abuse among the youth. This can be categorised into Risk Factors and Preventive Factors, which can further be categorised into individual risk factors, family risk factors, peer risk factors, school risk factors and community risk factors. Risk factors are characteristics within the individual or conditions in the family, school or community that increase the likelihood of a youth engaging in problem behaviour such as the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Individual risk factors also includes alienation or rebelliousness, which is linked with early or frequent substance use (Mugisha, Arinaitwe-Mugisha, & Hagembe, 2003), and anti-social behaviour, which is associated with boys, in particular, who are aggressive at ages 5, 6, and 7 and anxiety or depression, which is related to greater drug use(Atwoli, Mungla, Ndung'u, Kinoti, & Ogot, 2011).

Other individual risk factors include early first use of drugs, where when children experience their first drug, they are more likely to get into problems later in their adolescent age(Sacerdote, 2011). In addition, external locus of control is another factor that influences one into abusing drugs. This is where adolescents who perceive that their lives are largely beyond their control are more apt to abuse substances than their peers who feel that they have a large measure of control over their lives(Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbusch, 1991). Lack of religious commitment is another individual risk factor that influences drug abuse among the primary school pupils. This is where religious beliefs protect children from involvement in drug abuse regardless of denomination or socioeconomic standing. The faith gives children a belief that their lives have meaning and the confidence that things will work out despite hard times(Kremer & Levy, 2008).

Children are continually expected to develop new skills and acquire knowledge, both in school and in their social environment outside school (UNDCP, 1998). According to WHO (1981), laboratory experiments with animals have demonstrated that a variety of psychoactive drugs impair the learning process. Similar results have been found in human studies (UNAIDS, 2000). Acute administration of cannabis and diazepam impair the memory (WHO, 1998). Since memory and other cognitive functioning are so essential to learning, it seems clear that frequent ingestion of drugs causes behavioural changes that may lead to poor performance, school absenteeism and school drop-outs (WHO, 1990). This is in agreement with Goldberg (2013), who states that brain development is on-going during adolescence and into the early twenties, and that drug experimentation during this time is more risky to the developing brain. He further adds that drug use during these neurologically formative years may inhibit the critical processes that nurture brain development to its conclusion. This makes this study therefore very important in that it is dealing with children whose brains can be destroyed by abuse of drugs.

Drug use is associated with social economic problems. It leads to demands on social services, the cost of which is borne not only by the individual user but also by the public (WHO, 1995). The effects include the societal responses such as prevention in form of rehabilitation and control programs(Mugisha et al., 2003). The loss of resources already committed to education in the school drop-outs, intangible costs such as poor child development and deterioration of schools as learning institutions(Otieno & Ofulla, 2009). Drug abuse predisposes one to engage in irresponsible sexual behaviours once intoxicated. This may lead to pre-mature pregnancies which eventually may cause a girl to drop out of school or even get into the temptation of performing abortion(Kremer & Levy, 2008).

Drug abuse can lead to hepatitis B1, HIV/AIDs infection, and septicaemia due to the use of non-sterile injection method in administration of drugs (UNAIDS, 2000). Deaths may occur due to overdose or mixing of psychotropic drugs with other substances (UNDCP, 2002). Alcoholism is known to cause damage to tissues or organs such as liver cirrhosis, while smoking causes lung and cardiovascular diseases (WHO, 2006). Non –specific health disorders may also result from neglect of personal hygiene and inadequate nutrition. Mental disorders such as cannabis psychosis have been reported to contribute 12-40% of all psychosis in Africa (UNDCP, 2002). According to NACADA (2006), in Nairobi alone 50% of students have in the past taken drugs. Half of these have become regular users. Between 30 to 40% in class seven, eight and form one have taken drugs at one time or another. NACADA further states that, drugs abused are available next to every family’s door, thus they are available everywhere anytime, in kiosks, bars, social gatherings and over the counter.

According to Ndugwa et al., (2011), learners in both primary and secondary schools start smoking at a very young age, way before they are 18 years of age, some being as young as 10 years. Ndugwa et al., (2011),further states that, over 400000 primary school children in Kenya are smoking tobacco, where 160000 of this figure are girls. This therefore justifies this study, in that drug abuse is a reality among the young children in primary Schools. It is against this background that the researcher endeavoured to establish the influence of social-economic status, family influence, community environment and peer- pressure on drug abuse among Pupils in Public Primary Schools in Nyamira County, Kenya. Additionally much had been said and written about drug abuse among the post primary school students and none students but there was scanty information among primary school pupils. Furthermore Ndugwa et al., (2011) did not find any written document on drug abuse among pupils in public primary schools in Nyamira County. The researcher therefore sought to fill this knowledge gap. Thus addressing the many raised concerns among parents, policy makers, campaigners against drugs, and institutions of learning on the fate of primary school pupils as regards to drug abuse.

Statement of the Problem
Effects of drug abuse and related causes have dominated the discourse on human health in recent past(Kremer & Levy, 2008; Mugisha et al., 2003). Many studies allude that drug and substance abuse is an emerging challenge in the provision of quality education in learning institutions in Kenya(Chebukaka, 2014; Sacerdote, 2011), and that its effects is influenced by many social, economic, and cultural factor factors. Various studies have posited that drug abuse is influenced by factors related to the changing society as a result of modernization, globalization and westernization (UNDCP, 2012). There are few studies that have been undertaken in Kenya regarding the causes and extend of drug abuse among public primary pupils (Chebukaka, 2014; Korir & Kipkemboi, 2014; Otieno & Ofulla, 2009). However, these studies offer mixed findings as regards the effect of family, community and peer group on the initiation and use (abuse) of drugs amongst public primary school pupils. A study carried out by NACADA (2007) revealed that children in primary school do abuse drugs due to different reasons, majority of which are due to peer pressure and social environments where the children socialise. However, since different parts of Kenya present different precursors to drug abuse, there was need to establish how certain factors in the family, community and peer groups influence drug abuse in rural and Peri-urban communities. As such, this study investigated the influence of social-economic, family status, community environmental and peer pressure on drug abuse among pupils in public primary school in Nyamira County, so as to address these research gaps.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of selected factors on Drug Abuse among pupils in public primary schools in Nyamira County, Kenya.

The study was guided by the following objectives:

i) To establish the influence of social-economic status on drug abuse among public primary school pupils in Nyamira County.

ii) To establish the influence of family factors on drug abuse among public primary school pupils in Nyamira County.

iii) To determine the influence of community environment on drug abuse among public primary school pupils in Nyamira County.

iv) To assess the influence of peer pressure on drug abuse among public primary school pupils in Nyamira County.

Hypotheses of the Study
In order to address the four objectives, the researcher came up with the following hypotheses.

Ho1 Social economic status does not influence drug abuse among pupils in Public Primary Schools in Nyamira County.

Ho2 Family factors do not influence drug abuse among pupils in Public Primary Schools in Nyamira County.

Ho3 Community environment does not influence drug abuse among pupils in Public Primary Schools in Nyamira County.

Ho4 Peer pressure does not influence drug abuse among pupils in Public Primary Schools in Nyamira County

Significance of the Study
The findings of the study would enhance general awareness and education to the community, parents, educators, policy makers, Ministry of Education, Campaigners against drug abuse such as NACADA and UNODC about problems and needs of pupils at this level. The information would also be important in strengthening the guidance and counselling departments and health clubs in primary schools to help prevent or control drug use among the pupils. The findings would enable Primary school administrators curb the drug abuse problem before it escalates into drug dependence and addiction. The findings would also add to the existing knowledge on drug use and abuse for readers and future researchers.

Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in Nyamira County. Two Sub –Counties, Nyamira and Nyamaiya were sampled out for the study because of their representative characteristics. Nyamira is an urban area while Nyamaiya is more of a rural area. The study limited itself to the sampled public primary schools. The target population was the public primary school pupils who presumably were in standard 6, 7 and 8. This was because approaching adolescent stage they are likely to experiment on many things including drug abuse. The study sought to establish information on the influence of socio-economic status, family factors, community environment and peer pressure, on drug abuse among pupils in public primary schools in Nyamira County.

Limitations of the Study
The study experienced some limitations however the researcher was quick to offer a solution. Some of the limitations and the solutions offered are discussed as follows.

i) Some of the pupils in public primary schools in Nyamira County had difficulties in comprehending the questionnaire. The researcher solved this by explaining the contents of the questionnaire to the pupils before filling it.

ii) Some institutions found the research sensitive since drug abuse is illegal and were suspicious. The researcher overcame this by visiting the institutions in person and explained the aim of the study.

iii) Due to the sensitivity of the issue of drugs some respondents might have inhibited honest responses, but the researcher assured them of confidentiality.

Assumptions of the Study
For the researcher to proceed well with the study, the following assumptions were made.

i) Primary school pupils in Nyamira were involved in drug abuse.

ii) The pupils were willing to give honest and true personal experience without fear of being intimidated by the nature of the subject of investigation.

iii) The factors under investigation did influence drug abuse.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 70 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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