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Impact of drug abuse on academic performance and physical health: a cross-sectional comparative study among university students in Bangladesh



Drug abuse, the driver of human self-destruction, is rapidly increasing among university students and is emerging as a global health concern. Students who abuse drugs are lagging in respect of academic performance, achievement, and other co-curricular activities. This study aims to investigate the differences in academic performance between drug abusers and non-abusers, and the factors associated with drug abuse among university students in Bangladesh.


The study was a cross-sectional survey among the students of five public and semi-public universities in Bangladesh. The sample size was drawn by using the snowball sampling technique. Face-to-face interviews were used to collect data, and the data were analyzed using SPSS 25.0.


Of the 436 participants, 54.59% (n = 238) were drug abusers. Male students (68.43%) were found to be significantly (p < 0.01) more into drug abuse. Sociodemographic factors including residence status, academic year in university, father’s occupation, and personal income were significantly associated with drug abuse. There was a negative correlation between drug abuse and academic performance, academic achievement, and maintaining good health.


The findings of this study reported a high prevalence and magnitude of psychoactive drug abuse among the university students in Bangladesh, and stress the negative impact of drugs on the abuser’s academic life and physical well-being. Therefore, adequate campus-based initiatives should be extended for the prevention and treatment of drug abuse.

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We are very thankful to Md. Estiar Rahman and Mohosina Akhter from the Department of Public Health & Informatics, Jahangirnagar University; Saima Alam from the Military Institute of Science and Technology; Naznin Akter from the Govt. Titumir College; Amjad Hossen Hridoy from Dhaka University and Ariful Islam from Jagannath University for providing support in data collection. We also express our gratitude to all the participants in the study.

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Correspondence to Sahadat Hossain.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Department of Public Health & Informatics, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This manuscript does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Sujan, M.S.H., Tasnim, R., Hossain, S. et al. Impact of drug abuse on academic performance and physical health: a cross-sectional comparative study among university students in Bangladesh. J Public Health (Berl.) 31, 65–71 (2023).

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