THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF DRUGS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF DRUGS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

The term drug is defined as any substance that when absorbed into a living organism may modify one or more of its physiological functions. The term is generally used in reference to a substance taken for both therapeutic purpose and abused substances (Kwamanga, Odhiambo&Amukoye, 2003). Globally and even regionally, drug and substance abuse is an ever expanding problem and is recognized as a threat with serious effects on people’s health, security, social-economic and cultural welfare. In Nigeria, students have consistently shown that there is considerable prevalence of

drug and substance use; with varying preference rates found for both overall and specific drug abuse (Abdulkarim, 2005). Some of these commonly abused substances include tobacco, Miraa (khat), bhang, alcohol, cocaine, mandrax and heroine (NACADA, 2006).

            Drugs pose a very big problem in the world today and it is ruining the lives of many millions of people both in adolescent and general population. The use of illegal drugs has spread at a high rate and has penetrated every part of the world. No nation has been spared from the devastating problem caused by drugs and substance abuse. Nigeria has not been spared either and in most cases it has been as a transit point of hard drugs especially through AkwaIbom. Trafficking of hard drugs into developing countries has not spared, Nigeria the drug consumption and dependence among secondary and college students and has led to unrest and consequently wide ranging destruction of life and property (Ngesu, Ndiku&Masese, 2008). Factors influencing students to drug use have been identified among them parental influence whereby it has been noted that children from homes where parents take drugs tend to imitate their parents’ behaviors and by modeling they start using drugs (Ngesu, et al 2008).

School factors can also influence students to drug use (Ngesu et al: 2008). How the school administration manages students’ affairs may lead to drug abuse, high handedness, lack of freedom and failure to address them generally creates stress, which can lead to abuse of drugs as depressors (Kingala, 2000). Unfortunately, across all continents in the world and throughout time, drug abuse among both the young and adult population has manifested itself in various forms.

It appears that drug abuse affects behavior and its effects on schools whose prevalence was assessed in this study, is a worldwide problem with no exception of Nigerian students. Use of drugs has led to many health problems in the youth, especially among the students. The youth experience many special problems and considerations. This is the period of adolescence which is full of many challenges such as stress of physiological and physical change, competition in school and life in general, generation gap, unjust and cruel world among other problems. Psychologically, the adolescents have serious developmental tasks to handle such as peer identification and individualization from their family. Sexual identification; societal and vocational; role identification and negotiating issues of authority power and independence are primary (Oketch, 2008).

            A report by United Nation Drug Control Programme (UNDCP, 1998) shows that 60% of student’s abuse drugs. A survey by National Council Against Drug Abuse (NACADA, 2006) shows that substance abuse is widespread. It affects the youth mostly although it cuts across all social groups. Many young people especially the unemployed have resulted to using drugs like heroin and cocaine which are injectables. This has been a major contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS due to the fact that they share syringes. Other drugs like alcohol can lead to risky sexual behavior as they affect judgment and decision making. A drunkard is unable to assert himself or herself especially when it comes to saying no to unprotected sex thus resulting to exposures to sexually transmitted infections.

Research findings indicate that there is a direct linkage between drug and substance Abuse and HIV and AIDS prevalence (NACADA, 2006). According to Siringi and Waihenya (2001), 22% of secondary school students are on drugs and it has been found out that males have high exposure to Mira and inhalants than females. PovertyAlso encourages drug use among students due to absenteeism and idleness (Adelekan 1998). As a result of lack of school fees, with availability of and access to drugs in The village kiosks the idleness may in one way or another encourage high prevalence of drug use among students aged 14-24 years old. This study therefore investigated the causes and effects of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

            It is evident that drug use and abuse is still a problem in Nigeria secondary schools despite the various measures taken to curb it. Drug abuse menace has strangled Youthful population both secondary school students and non-students reducing them to dummies, zombies and drooling figures as well as wasting their lives at the age which they are most needed in society (Ngesu, et al 2008). Although the youth have been educated on the dangers of the drug abuse, most of the secondary school students have little or no knowledge of how dangerous the vice is (Ngesu et al 2008). Although students are expected to be aware of the effects of drug abuse and commit themselves to their studies, the habit still exists.

            Although several researchers have preventive measures suggested, the researchers have not effectively led to the desired results of curbing the menace of drug and substance abuse in Nigeria secondary schools. This is because apart from the youth facing a lot of challenges as individuals, the family and society including the church and school have not come out wholly to initiate methods of helping the youngsters.

            There is always a conflict of interest on who has the upper hand in helping the youth. It was against this background that this study investigated the causes and effects of drug abuse among students in Nigeria and suggested pragmatic measures to effectively curb this menace.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

            The purpose of this study was to investigate the causes and effects of drug and Substance abuse among students in Nigeria.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The study was guided by the following objectives: –

  1. To establish the extent to which parents’ sources of income influence the prevalence of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.
  2. To determine how different location of schools influence the prevalence of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.
  3. To establish the extent to which school administration influences the

            Prevalence of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.

  1. To establish how peer pressure influences drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.
  2. To make suggestions on how Drug and Substance Abuse can be minimized.

1.5       Research Questions

            This study was guided by the following research questions: –

  1. To what extent do parents’ sources of income influence the prevalence of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.
  2. To what extent does location of schools influence the prevalence of drug and Substance abuse among students in Nigeria?
  3. To what extent does school administration influence the prevalence of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria?
  4. How does peer pressure influence them on drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria?
  5. What measures can be taken to minimize Drug and Substance Abuse?

1.6       Significance of the Study

            This study sought to generate useful data on the causes and impact of drugs abuse on education in Nigeria. Therefore, the findings of this study may be useful in several, Ways: The Ministry of Education/National Board for Technical Education may use the study findings to find out ways of preventing drug and substance abuse through public enlightened campaigns in schools, promotion of awareness on the dangers of drugs and how they affect an individual, the family and the society at large.

            The government may put in modalities of strengthening the guidance and counseling Department in schools through taking the teachers for service teacher training courses. The findings may also be used to advocate that campaigns against substance use should be incorporated in schools with special focus on the adverse consequences of the substance use. Ultimately, the society will benefit from the findings of this study in creating a drug free society for social, economic and political development in line with sustainable development goals. The school principals may assist the students in identifying the sources of drugs so that they can take remedial measures. The guidance and counselling departments might be strengthened through appointment of trained and qualified counsellors to head the departments.

1.7       Limitations of the Study

The data collection technique was mainly the use of questionnaires which were used to obtain data from the respondents. There were chances that some respondents might have been unwilling to respond to the questionnaires. The researcher also narrowed down the research objectives to five factors which might, have been conclusive evidence as there are many other factors which are beyond the control of the researcher. Such factors may have included inadequate rehabilitation centers, breakdown of African culture, lack of parental influence, availability of pocket money and school related factors.

            There were a lot of funds needed to carry out a research so the researcher required a lot of money to research on the causes and effects of drug and substance abuse among students in Nigeria.

1.8       Delimitations of the Study

            The study was limited to Six (6)Technical College in AkwaIbom State, Nigeria. The findings in the study were used to generalize the percentage of students who engaged in drug and substance abuse.

1.9       Assumptions of the Study

            The study assumed that the respondents were honest, truthful and willing to give correct answers. The reasons for students’ high prevalence of drug abuse were also stated in the objectives of the study. Other factors had no negligible influence on the frequency of drug abuse among students. The researcher assumed that school heads would allow guidance and counseling teachers and students to participate and give correct data during the research. It was also assumed that drug abuse prevails in one way or the other in Nigeria.

1.10     Definition of Terms

            In this study the following terms were defined as:

Drug: Refers to any chemical substance which when taken into the body that can affect one or more of the body’s functions.

Drug misuse: Refers to the usage of any drug for any other purpose other than the recommended one.

Drug abuse: Refers to excessive illegal drug use and/ or legal drug use without a doctor’s prescription.

Drug tolerance: Refers to a state of reduced sensitivity of a drug to the body at given regular (normal) dose.

Substance abuse: Refers to harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances including alcohol and other illicit drugs to stimulate behaviour.

Drug dependence: Refers to repeated drug taking that usually results in tolerance, withdrawal and compulsive drug taking.

Parental influence: Refers to the role played by parents into the students’ drug use or against it.

Peer pressure: Refers to tendency to conform to the values and expectations of the peer group.

Adolescence: Refers to period between childhood and adulthood and characterized by physical and emotional changes.

Adolescent: Refers to a boy or girl between the ages of eleven and nineteen years. Also refers to as a teenager.

Legal/licit drug: Refers to a drug socially accepted and readily available.

Prevalence: Refers to the magnitude of drug use among a particular agepopulation.

School administration: Refers to managerial set ups in schools that may influence a non-drug user to start using illegal drugs.

Drug trafficker/peddler: Refers to a person who passes drugs to consumers.

Student: Refers to a male or female learner in form 1 -4 in public Schools in Nigeria.

EDITOR SOURCE: The Causes And Effects Of Drugs And Substance Abuse (A Case Study Technical College In Akwaibom State, Nigeria)

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