THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF DRUG ABUSE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF URUAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE)
Drugs have been use by man since his creation. According to Vender (1997:790) human beings have long history of using chemical comforters drugs to change their mood, feeling, or perception. Samuel (1974:50) indicated that “there has been no time in history that was free from man’s constant search for substance from the environment that he might use to alter his perception and feelings. Although drug use has been an important part of many cultures, a few societies like Nigeria have been concerned about misuse and abuse of drugs.
Drug abuse is one of the social problems that confront almost every civilized society today. The drug problem is inherent in the social system and has exerted much pressure on individuals as well as various groups in the society. Drug abuse is like a cankerworm and has affected the future and well-being of many youths. It is sad to note that despite the harmful impact of drugs on the lives of people the abuse and trafficking of drugs has gained grounds and has occupied a prominent place within a large segment of our society.
Odejide (1989:66) noted that those drugs which exert their biochemical effects on the brain leading to sedation and changes in human behaviour are known as “Psycho-active substance” or “hard drugs.” The use of such hard drugs when they are not medically prescribed or when administered in excess constitute the phenomenon of “drugs abuse”. The abuse of drugs can also occur when such uses of drugs result in the physical, mental, emotional or social impairment of the user.
According to Laurie (1967:63) drug is any chemical substances that alters mood, perception or consciousness and is misused, to the apparent detriment of the society. Bayh (1972:4)) defined drug as any chemical substance taken into the body in order to alter physical and psychological functioning of an individual.
Drug identified as harmful are grown on farms in Nigeria, some quantity of these get consumed locally by criminals; other are used in interventional drug traffic. However, abuse of hard drugs is rampant among students in tertiary and secondary school in Nigeria.
Odejide (1989:17) observed that drug abuse presents broad-spectrum of problems which affect the individual, his immediate family, and the society at large. Furthermore, the social impact of drug dependence include loss of job, loss of ones sense of responsibility, family disruption, school drop out, promiscuity and deliberate harm to oneself or others.
It is pertinent to note that the abuse of psycho-active substances such as cocaine, cannabis and heroin, to mention just a few has assumed alarming proportion with current interest in illicit drug trafficking. Today, hard drugs easily find their way into the hands of most youths who are anxious to experiment with drugs. The inappropriate use of drugs can pose serious danger to man and society, since the rehabilitation, social integration and after care of such drug dependent persons usually lead to socio-economic problems and loss of productivity. Also, other than the deviant situations which drug abuse often creates and promotes, the health of users are usually severely affected.
The devastating physical, social and psychological effects on the drug addict, his family and the immediate environment are enormous. We cannot sit and watch this plague destroys our present generation and the future of the nation. The frequent use of any drug by students results in impaired performance and poor academic performance of students.
Therefore, this study seeks to investigate the causes and consequences of drug abuse among secondary school students in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It is believed that this will help policy makers to understand areas that they should direct their energies at when discussing how to check this social menace among our youths in schools in Akwa Ibom in particular and Nigeria in general.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization (1970). Drug including alcohol and tobacco, are commonly used by our youths the world over.
In the past years, drug experimentation and drug dependency appear to have spread to all levels of our society exposed to it, youth and adult alike. One does not have to be a physician or even observant to realize that the use of psycho active drug is commonly placed in Nigeria life. Drugs are an integral of social and economic order.
It is observable fact that drug are tearing apart our societies, spawning crime, and killing our youth and our future. It is really impossible to really estimate on the exact damages caused by this addicts to our societies except by approximation.
Drug abuse is a serious social problem affecting the socio-economic development of people in almost every society. Also, the frequent abuse of drugs as well as other drug-related activities which further promote illicit production, distribution and sale of drugs constitute social, cultural and national security hazards.
In the Nigerian society, there are a number of youths who are inmates of psychiatric hospitals. Other than becoming mentally sick and less productive, these youths pose serious problems for their immediate families. Also, drugs abuse has been associated with such nervous disorders as hypertension and the spread of the deadly Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) through the sharing of infected injection needles. Usually many victims of drug abuse can not be the same again, as the untold suffering from drug abuse may result in partial or full disability of the users.
Furthermore, people who have abused drugs are often subjected to public ridicule and in most cases their families are also ridiculed. The society may find it difficult to associate with them, they may even become isolated from their immediate relations and the labour market. Such situations may worsen the already complicated drug conditions of the users.
The problem of drug abuse has affected the development of many able bodied people in society. For instance, organizations such as Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Ministry of Health have been budgeting a substantial amount for tackling the trafficking in drugs and in building psychiatric hospitals to cater for the need of victims. Such funds could have been utilized for the provision of social infrastructures instead of diverting them for rehabilitating drug victims.
Drug abuse has therefore become a social problem which needs to be investigated with every available means to ascertain the extent to which its abuse and trafficking pose a problem in our society. Many young people especially students who would have been useful to themselves, family, state and country at large are roaming the street as mad men and women.
It is noticed that cigarette smoking and alcoholism are some of the rampant diseases, which hooked most of the students in secondary schools in Nigeria. These affect their mind and alter the quality of their consciousness.
Cigarette and alcohol are regarded as gateway drugs. This is because of the tendency for users of the two to graduate into the use of stronger drugs like Marijuana, Cocaine and the narcotics such as heroin.
The abuse of drugs among students in Nigeria in general and Akwa Ibom State in particular has generated a lot of concern among parents, government, policy makers and non-government organizations. The belief is that students are regarded as being in the fore front in the abuse of drug in Nigeria. This study would seek to find out the level of drug abuse amongst the students in secondary schools in Uruan Local Government Area. It will also investigate the causes and consequences which will help in the formulation and implementation of policies on drug abuse among students in Nigeria.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Dunham (1970:64) stated that a research can never yield a tangible result if the objectives are not clearly spelt out.
Thus, this study has the following as its objectives;
1. To identify the type of drugs abused in the study area.
2. To examine the causes and consequences of drug abuse among students in secondary schools in the study area.
3 To investigate the incidence of drug abuse among youths in the study area.
4 To identify the socio-economic and health implications of drug abuse on students in the study area.
5. To find out if incidence of drugs abused is more among male and female students.
6. To investigate the effects of abused drugs on our larger society.
7 To examine various factors militating against the control of drug abuse.
8 To make suggestions and recommendations for the control of drug abuse.
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will be limited to three areas in Uruan Local Government Area, these include Northern Uruan, Central Uruan, and Southern Uruan. Also, the study shall investigate the causes and consequences of drug abuse within Uruan Local Government Area. However, on account of time and cost, there is need to create delimitation of the study in order to avoid unnecessary generalization.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
We have observed that great number of students in secondary schools in Uruan Local Government Area are drug addicts. The parents and elders have tried their best to eradicate these habits particularly in secondary schools but all efforts have proved abortive.
As a concerned citizen, I have decided to carryout a research on this problem in order to enable me arrive at reasonable suggestions on how to curb these problems in our society.
This work will help to bring into limelight why students abuse drugs and the aftermath effects of the abuse. It will also help us to know the offences or crimes commonly committed by those addicted.
It is also believed that the study will throw more light on many issues related to drug abuse in the study area in particular and Nigeria in general.
This study is significant in the sense that, it will serve as a reference material to other researchers who in future would want to carryout research incidence of drug abuse in Akwa Ibom State.
It will also assist State and Local Government in their policies formulation particularly with reference to the harmful consequences of drug abuse on the people of the state in particular, and Nigeria in general. Furthermore, it will guide local, state and national government to know those areas to improve upon in the implementation of strategies to deal with drug abuse and drug trafficking.
Finally, some important issues discussed in the study will be of great assistance to government and Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement in tackling pertinent issues on drugs and its abuse. This will help in tackling this problem in the country.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
In order to avail this research with a worthy guide to planning the course of the inquiry, choosing the kinds of data needed, deciding the proper statistical approach as well as examining the result of the study, the use of hypotheses becomes essential. These are educated guess which are tentatively accepted as the basis for investigation and fashion our clear cut ideas of what the researcher wishes to know.
Therefore in order to drive this research work to its logical conclusion and proper understanding of the causes and consequences of drug abuse among secondary school students in Uruan Local Government Area, the following hypotheses shall be applied.
(1) There is no significant between peer group influence and drug abuse among youths.
(2) There is no significant relationship between parental supervision and drug abuse among youths.
(3) Children from affluent background are more likely to abuse drugs than children from poor economic background.
1.6 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
For the fact that without a common understanding of essential terms and concepts, the value of the research may be lost through misunderstanding and misinterpretation. The section becomes a very important facet of the research report which cannot be ignored. For this purpose, definitions have to be operational and working.
Drug: According to World Health Organization (1970) drug is defined as “chemical substances which when introduced into a living organism may modify or change the psychological and biochemical process of the body”.
According to Odejide and Sandra (1976:91), drugs refer to substances which interact with our body system so as to modify both the physiological and biochemical processes of the body.
Crime: Can be defined simply as a serious offence which violates the law.
Psychoactive Drugs: These are drugs whose toxicities or abuse potentials outweigh their medical uses, hence their production, distribution and sale are seriously controlled or out rightly banned.
Narcotic: Any drug capable of relieving pain while inducing sleep, insensibility of stupor.
Stimulant: Any drug producing excitement or hyperactivity on the nervous system e.g. Cocaine.
Sedative: A drug with a soothing or calming effect.
Hallucinogen: Any psychedelic which has the ability to induce hallucination e.g. Indian hemp (cannabis).
Depressant: Any drug with a sedative effect on the nervous system, sometimes used in treating high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders.
Barons: Represent the brain behind the business and they sit on top of the triangular distribution chain.
Drug Addiction: Is a term use in describing a chronic intoxicated person, or condition or being an addict.
Drug Abuse: Drug abuse refers to the non-medical use or application of drugs, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, sedative and tranquillisers. It is also the use of drug when not medically prescribed or when used against legal prohibition and this cause harm to the user (Gupter 1976:23).
Drug abuse refers to the non-medical use or application of drugs, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, sedative and tranquillisers. It is also the use of drug when not medically prescribed or when used against legal prohibition and this cause harm to the user (Gupter 1976:23).
Abuse of drugs centered on the misuse of opiates, the various concoctions prepared from powered opium. Drug abuse is not a social problem as some people believe should be wiped away. Drug abuse is a serious health problem that craves serious national attention. Drug abuse is a voluntary disobedience to natural laws; it kills gradually, a voluntary suicidal behaviour without suicidal ideation.
Drug Dependence: Is a state or situation in which the continuous use of drugs causes disruption or harm to one’s body.
Cocaine: A drug which some people take illegally for pleasure and may become addicted. It is a natural plant that grows in the India Amazon forest.
Drug Trafficking: Refers to the illegal movement of transportation of drugs from one location to another. This is usually done under cover, in order to avoid detection by Law Enforcement Agents (Odeofe, 2003:2).
Drug Trafficking refers to any one involved in drug distributive trade, from the time it is sold in its smallest quantity on the street.
Drug Addicts: Drug addicts refer to someone who cannot stop taking drugs such as cocaine or heroin. He is psychologically dependent on drug on a continuous basis, and tries to avoid the discomfort of its absence (Silverman 1974:182).
Youths: Refers to a period in life when a person is moving from childhood to manhood/womanhood. It is during this period that the use of drugs is most appealing. Also, youths are always eager to change their moods and would readily experiment with drugs. (Coleman, 1961:460).