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Drug and substance abuse is a global problem and is one of the major problems affecting the
youth both in school and out of school. This problem impacts negatively on the academic, social,
psychological, economical and physiological development among the abusers. The menace of
drugs has strangled the youthful population reducing them to dummies, zombies and drooling
figures only to waste out the prime of their lives when they are most needed to invest their
energy in worthy nation building ventures.
This study sought to establish the factors influencing the use of drugs of abuse among the youth
in Mbeere district. It focused on how literacy levels influence drug and substance abuse; whether
gender influences substance and drug abuse; the influence of type of employment on drug and
substance abuse; evaluation of the role of availability of drugs and substance in drug and
substance abuse and lastly whether peer pressure is a contributing factor to drug and substance
abuse among the youth in Mbeere district.
A descriptive survey research design was used. Three out of 27 Locations in Mbeere district
were purposively sampled for the purposes of the study. Depending on accessibility 40 youths
were selected in each location for the study; giving a total of 120 youth. A questionnaire was
used to collect information from both the youth and the organizations dealing with youth issues.
Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study findings showed that drug and
substance abuse among the youth are influenced by literacy level, gender, type of employment,
availability of drugs and substances of abuse and peer pressure. Key recommendations made
are; effects of drug and substance abuse be part of the syllabus from primary school, media be
used to emphasize on the effects of drug abuse, the Government to create employment for the
youth and train youth on time management and entrepreneurship, reinforcement of various laws
that regulate production and consumption of drugs and substance of abuse and sensitize parents
on good role modeling.