e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

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Students' Perceptions of Substance Abuse Among Secondary School Students in Malaysia

Chan, Y. F., Sidhu, G. K., Lim, P. C. and Wee, E. H.

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 24, Issue 2, June 2016

Keywords: Substance abuse, secondary school, students

Published on: 05 May 2016

Substance abuse refers to an act of misuse or excessive use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. There is no denying that substance abuse is on the increase at both the global and national level in Malaysia. Even though substance abuse is a strictly prohibited behaviour in all Malaysian schools, studies have indicated that this delinquent behaviour often stems from schools. Therefore the main aim of this paper is to present students' perspectives of substance abuse among secondary school students in Malaysia. The data for the study were collected using a questionnaire, checklist and semi-structured interviews which involved 1800 secondary school students from 18 high risk secondary schools from the states of Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. The Risk and Protective Factor Questionnaire (RPFQ) has 13 sub-sections and is an adapted version of the Communities That Care Youth Survey which has 14 sub-sections. The findings indicated that the common substance abuse behaviours in schools were smoking, consuming alcohol, using marijuana and glue-sniffing. More than half of the student respondents had 1 to 3 friends who were involved in smoking. Furthermore, findings indicated that a majority of them became involved in these unhealthy activities between the ages of 15 and 17 years and were most likely to be engaged in these activities during weekends and outside school. Findings also revealed that close to 405 of the students (>30%) felt that their parents did not view glue sniffing, consuming alcohol or smoking as an offence. These findings imply that the increase in the number of substance abusers among secondary school students can have an adverse effect on their peers and that as a nation Malaysia needs to embrace the fact that substance abuse can derail the noble aspirations of the country to become a developed economy by 2020. Therefore, it is pertinent that all authorities in schools and community stakeholders such as AADK and Ministry of Education understand the pattern of substance abuse among secondary school students in Malaysia and develop suitable programmes or strategies to curb such behaviours in school.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

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