Background: Substances are anything, that is, when taken inappropriately disturbs the normal function of the body. When substances are used appropriately, they are useful for various functions. Substance abuse is the inappropriate use of substances in a manner that leads to various deleterious problems. Self-administration of drugs for nonmedical reasons is a basic feature of substance abuse. Substance abuse is posing deleterious consequences to society. Currently, about 275 million people worldwide are exposed to substance abuse at least once during their lifetime.
Objective: To assess prevalence, knowledge and reasons about substance abuse abuse among the community of Harar town, Eastern Ethiopia, from December 10, 2020 – February 1, 2021.
Methodology: Cross - sectional study was done from December 10, 2020 to February 01, 2021. Simple random sampling technique was used to collect responses from 379 respondents of Harar town. The data was collected using self-administered questionnaires and then entered and analyzed by using the statistical package for Social Science version 24.
Result: In this study, 379 respondents were included. 206 (54.4 %) of the respondents were abused to drink alcohol, while 61.5 %, 32.7 %, and 13.7 % of the respondents were abused to chew khat, smoking cigarettes and hashish respectively. The 201 (53 %), 55 (14.5 %), 48 (12.7 %),30 (7.9 %), 32 (8.4 %) of participants responded that smoking causes heart attack, diabetic ulcer, impotency, bladder cancer and poor wound healing respectively. The health risks of khat chewing reported by the participants were constipation 58 (24.1 %), loss of appetite 34 (14.1 %), gastritis 33 (13.7 %) and tooth problem 22 (9.1 %) respectively. In multivariate logistic regression, respondents with an age of less than 45 years were 19 times more likely to have adequate knowledge about substance abuse [AOR = 19, 95 % CI: 2.46 - 19.46] compared to respondents whose age is above 45 years and respondents who are literate are 43 times more likely to have adequate knowledge about substance abuse [AOR = 43.19, 95 % CI: 8.42 - 187.84].