The use of psychoactive substances such as Alcohol, Khat and Cigarette has been recognized as the leading causes of human suffering. Its sphere of influence increase alarmingly and become the rising major public health and socio-economic problems worldwide. Even though substances use exhibit most segments of the societies, it is more spreading among the young generation. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and associated factors of substances use among health sciences colleges’ students, Southern Ethiopia. A cross sectional study was conducted among 571 students, who were selected from four health science colleges from January 1 to August 30, 2017. Stratified simple random sampling method was employed. The data were collected by using self-administered structured questionnaire and analyzed by using SPSS version 23 software. Statistical association was done and level of significance were taken at 5%. The overall life-time and current prevalence of substances use among the study subjects were 29.6% and 18.1%, respectively. Similarly, the current prevalence of Khat chewing, alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking were 17.3%, 7.4% and 3.9%, respectively. Being male, year of study, experience from family, and living with friends were found to have statistically significant association with current Khat chewing (AOR: 3.45, 95% CI: (1.42, 8.39)), (AOR: 2.22, 95% CI: (1.17, 4.23)), (AOR: 5.67, 95% CI: (2.75, 11.67)), and (AOR: 3.58, 95% CI: (1.08, 11.83)), respectively. Similarly, year of study, experience from family and living in rented house were significantly associated with current alcohol use (AOR: 2.94, 95% CI: (1.16, 7.47)), (AOR: 5.25, 95% CI: (1.80, 15.29)), (AOR: 4.86, 95% CI: (1.87, 12.63)), respectively. Prevalence of psychoactive substance (PAS) use among health science students was high. PAS among health science students in southern region of Ethiopia needs special attention and emergency preventive measures could be taken. In addition, education and awareness creation is important to tackle the problem of substance use.
Keywords: Prevalence, Khat, Cigarette, Alcohol, Health Science College, Southern Ethiopia