PATTERNS OF AND STRATEGIES FOR PREVENTING ADOLESCENT ALCOHOL ABUSE IN BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA
The study was carried out to find out the patterns of and strategies for preventing adolescent alcohol abuse in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The descriptive survey research design was utilized for the study. The population for the study comprised all in-school and out-of-school adolescents in Bayelsa State. Two thousand three hundred and sixty five adolescents constituted the sample for the study. The instrument used for data collection was a researcher developed structured questionnaire on patterns of and preventive strategies for adolescent alcohol abuse questionnaire (PSFPAAAQ). It has seven sections A-G. The face validity of the instrument (PSFPAAAQ) was established by the decision of five experts all of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A trial test of the instrument was carried out on a sample of twenty adolescents randomly drawn from a secondary school in Bayelsa State who did not participate in the study. All items were computed using SPSS software windows version 6.0. Kudder-Richardson (K-R-20) and Cronbach Alpha technique was used to establish the internal consistency of the instrument (PSFPAAAQ). The results of the reliability estimates are as follows: .92, .81, .686, .71; E11 = .94; .94, .84, and .658 for sections. B, C, D, E, F and G respectively. Data were collected from in-school and out-of-school adolescents with the help of two assistants. Sixty secondary schools (public (30) and private(30)), participated in the study, while the out-of-school adolescents were drawn from communities, streets, motorparks, boatparks, and “Joints”. Data were analyzed using percentages and frequencies to answer research questions 1,2, 4, 5 and 6, while research questions 3 and 7 was answered using means and standard deviations. The null hypotheses were tested at .05 level of significance using Chi-square (X2 ) statistics. From the analysis, the following findings were made: different types of alcoholic beverages are highly consumed by adolescents; alcohol is very highly abused by adolescents. Female adolescents highly consumed all the five types of alcoholic beverages than their male counterparts except the local gin (kaikai); adolescents aged 20 – 24years are the highest consumers of different types of alcoholic beverages than those of age range of between 10 and 14years and those aged between 15 and 19years. The out-of-school adolescents are the highest consumers of different types of alcoholic beverages than adolescents in JS1-3 and SS1-3. The highest percentage of adolescents abused all the five types of alcoholic beverages at night, which is closely followed in the evening while different types of alcoholic beverages are lowly abused in the afternoon and morning. The result showed that it is at parties that have the highest percentage of adolescents who abused all the five types of alcoholic beverages, which is followed in restaurants or joints than other venues such as in bars, retail stores in the neighbourhood and in their houses. The result also showed that the highest percentage of adolescents abused all the five different types of alcoholic beverages at rural than urban location. The reasons behind the adolescent abuse of alcoholic beverages are to make party more enjoyable, to be part of a peer group, to remove bad mood, get drunk to forget worries, to alleviate pains and anxiety, to be courageous. Alcohol education, public enlightenment campaign, multi-disciplinary approach, legislation, mass media communication and rehabilitation and treatment approach are all appropriate strategies for preventing alcohol abuse. There is no significant difference in the proportion of adolescents that abused different types of alcoholic beverages by gender, age and level of education. The proportion of adolescents that abused different types of alcoholic beverages by periods of the day (morning, afternoon, evening and night) did not differ significantly. The proportion of adolescents that abused different types of alcoholic beverages in urban and rural locations did not differ significantly. The researcher recommended among other things, that parents, school authorities, government agencies, for example, Ministries of Health, Education, Information, Women Affairs, should embark on periodic public enlightenment campaigns, enact appropriate laws to reduce and prevent the harm of alcohol abuse among adolescents.