Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 569

Full Length Research Paper

Perceptions of school going adolescents about substance abuse in Ramotswa, Botswana

Garechaba Gotsang
  • Garechaba Gotsang
  • Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Health, Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone, Botswana.
  • Google Scholar
Yohana Mashalla
  • Yohana Mashalla
  • Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
  • Google Scholar
Esther Seloilwe
  • Esther Seloilwe
  • Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 02 March 2017
  •  Accepted: 18 April 2017
  •  Published: 30 June 2017


Drug and substance abuse is a global public health problem affecting adolescents and young adults especially in developing countries. This study investigated the perceptions of school-going adolescents about substance abuse in Ramotswa, Botswana. A cross-sectional design study using mixed methods was used to collect data from primary, junior and senior secondary school children aged 13 to 19 years. Some 207 school children were recruited into the study. Almost equal numbers of boys and girls had ever used substances prior to this study and the overall prevalence of substance use is 17.4%. The media is the major source of awareness and knowledge of substances and most schools (59.9%) do not have strategies for reducing abuse of substances. School surroundings provide school children easy access to substances. Knowledge of the association of substance use and abuse is high with mental health (74.9%), traffic accidents (70.7%) and 58.5% with heart diseases. It is concluded concerted effort is needed involving major stakeholders to scale-up campaigns for reducing drug and substance abuse among school children. This can be achieved through raising awareness about the consequences of substance abuse; building capacity to strengthen coping mechanisms to stress and to those presenting with effects resulting from use of these substances and review academic curricula.


Key words: Adolescents, drugs, substance abuse, perception, knowledge.