The aim of the study was to set up an epidemiological alcohol and drug abuse surveillance system to establish the magnitude of the problem.
HEALTH | ALCOHOLISM | DRUG ABUSE
KAMPALA - Alcohol and drug disorders are increasingly becoming a public health threat in Uganda, a study has revealed.
A Makerere University School of Public Health study in Kampala Metropolitan and Wakiso district reveals that most alcohol and drug abuse victims are young and single, thus likely to waste most of their productive stage of life.
The study carried out between November 2019 to June 2020, highlights that the commonest drug abused is alcohol at 51.9%.
Alcohol is followed by cannabis at 19.3%, crack cocaine at 12.9%, heroin at 8.3%, and other substances at 7.7%.
It was noted that the commonest source of primary drugs across all the eight months was street dealers at 51.8% followed by friends at 37.2% and other sources at 8.2%.
The study stressed that at least 47.3% of the clients aged 35 years and above abused alcohol as a primary drug compared to 40% of 25 to 34 and 15 to 24 years whereas 50% of the clients aged 25 to 34 abused cannabis and 57.1% aged 25 to 34 abused heroin.
However, the study shows that 78% of the abusers have received treatment for alcohol or drug dependence between one to two times.
Dr Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye, an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Bio-Statistics, said the majority of the bills for treatment especially in private treatment centers are paid by families and friends, thereby presenting a bigger financial burden to the families of the victims.
"For most of the clients (85%), the payment for rehabilitation was made by family or friends," Tumwesigye explained.
Tumwesigye, also the principal investigator of the study added that some of the alcohol abusers were unemployed and some could have developed the habit and lost jobs.
The aim of the study, according to Tumwesigye was to set up an epidemiological alcohol and drug abuse surveillance system to establish the magnitude of the problem to advise policy development, guide local training and resources allocation decisions, mobilize researchers and attract new research initiatives.