The COVID-19 epidemic has been shown to increase the likelihood of youth engaging in risky behaviors such as substance use and eventual substance use disorder (SUD). However, it is unclear how the epidemic has affected the prevalence of SUD among Ugandan adolescents. 

The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of SUD among teenagers in southern Uganda, as well as the factors that contribute to it. Between November 2018 and July 2021, psychiatry ward records from the largest tertiary hospital in southwestern Uganda were collected retrospectively. 

A study gathered information from 441 teenagers, with a mean age of 171.88 years and a male predominance (50.34 percent ). 7.26% of people tested positive for SUD (5.90 percent and 9.80 percent before and during the pandemic).

 Despite a slight rise in SUD (3.9%) during the COVID-19 pandemic, no statistically significant difference existed between the pre-and post-outbreak periods. Older adolescents were more likely to be diagnosed with SUD at any one time. 

Furthermore, bipolar disorder reduced the prevalence of SUD during the epidemic. There was no statistically significant difference in the diagnosis of SUD among adolescents before and after the COVID-19 outbreak, according to this investigation. Because older male teenagers (17 to 19 years old) are more likely to develop SUD, this age group requires early intervention.

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