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Public Health




AbstractPsychoactive substance (PAS) abuse is a major public health problem leading to increased morbidity and mortality. In Nigeria, the incidence rate of PAS abuse has remained high, particularly in the youth population. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of social factors and school enrollment status on PAS abuse in youth in Southeast Nigeria. The social ecological model and the theory of reasoned action were the theoretical frameworks used for this study; they were selected due to their focus on multiple levels of factors that influence behavior. A quantitative cross-sectional study design approach was used to determine the relationship between social factors, school enrollment status, and PAS abuse. Primary data with a sample size of 420 (school enrolled = 240, school unenrolled = 180) were collected from the target population and analyzed using binary logistic regression analyses. The results of the analyses showed that social factors had a statistically significant influence on PAS abuse in both school enrolled and unenrolled youths (p < 0.001). Also, a statistically significant difference was observed between school enrollment status and PAS abuse in youth (p < 0.001); school unenrolled youths were more likely to abuse PAS compared to their school enrolled counterpart. Implications for positive social change include increased awareness on the influence of the social factors on PAS abuse in youth, existence of gap between school enrolled and unrolled youth in terms of PAS abuse; all will help to develop evidence-based policies and programs tailored at individual, interpersonal, community, and societal levels towards ameliorating incidents of PAS abuse in youths.