Background. In Nigeria, the use of psychoactive substances has reached an epidemic proportion while substance use prevention remains inadequate or unavailable. Methods. Cross-sectional data from 300 Junior Secondary School students in Imo state were analyzed to evaluate the unmet need for school-based substance use prevention strategies among secondary school students in Orlu, Imo state. Information was collected using a structured questionnaire. Results. Substance use was common with easy access to psychoactive substances for young people. There was a perceived need for substance use prevention strategies in their school with most students lacking access to basic preventive strategies. Conclusion. Though there was a high need for preventive strategies for substance abuse among secondary school students in Orlu, few strategies were in place to meet the needs of the students.