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Correlates of cannabis and other illicit drugs use among secondary school adolescents in Nigeria.

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BACKGROUND:

The burden of cannabis and other illicit drug use among youth represent a serious public health problem. The aim of the present study is to explore factors associated with cannabis and other illicit drug use among Nigerian secondary school adolescents of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

METHODS:

A total sample of 4078 secondary school adolescents of 32 schools from the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria participated in a cross-sectional survey in December 2015-January 2016. The association of sociodemographic characteristics, parental smoking, parental permissiveness to drink, friends' marijuana or other drugs use, risk perceptions and beliefs with the risk of lifetime cannabis and other illicit drugs use was examined through multilevel logistic regression models.

RESULTS:

The mean age of the students involved in the study was 14.7 years. Older age, living in one-parent or family structures different from both parents household, parental smoking, parental permissiveness to drink alcohol, friends' use of marijuana or other drugs, low risk perception of harmful effects, and positive beliefs on marijuana or drugs use were associated with the risk of cannabis and illicit drugs use. The indicator of socioeconomic status was associated to the risk of using cannabis, but not to the risk of using illicit drugs.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present study highlights some correlates that influence the uptake of cannabis and drugs among Nigerian adolescents. Preventive programs addressing these factors could help to reduce the burden of the problem. Specific attention should be given to interventions to contrast the incorrect beliefs and perceptions.

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