This trend changed dramatically in the 90s to include the abuse of non conventional drugs such as volatile solvents or inhalants (gasoline, correction fluid, rubber solution, aerosol, nail polish removal, kerosene, petrol, and bytul nitrate). These volatile solvents produce psychoactive vapour which when inhaled goes straight from the nose to the brain, heart and lungs with instant intoxication and diverse consequences.

Today, ingenuity has been introduced into drug abuse with complex mixtures, experimentations and new discoveries. This has resorted to the abuse of lizard dung (especially the whitish part), pit toilet/soak away fumes (bio generic gas), “goskolo” a concoction of unimaginable substances, robin blue powder cocktail, “gadagi” (a substance resembling tea leaves), pharmaceutical products (tramadol, rohypnol) and many more. Codeine containing cough syrup mixed with soft drinks is gradually taking over alcohol in youth parties.

Due to new technologies which have improved the mass production of some of these drugs, many of them have become very cheap and therefore affordable.Unfortunately, the presence of new substances of abuse are usually not detected until someone suffering from the consequences visits the hospital for treatment or law enforcement personnel intercept or seize a supply of suspected substances.

Substance abuse in Nigeria and the new trend is becoming a significant medical, psychological, social and economic problem facing the nation. More worrisome is the increasing number of secondary school and tertiaryinstitution students who are getting involved in drug abuse. These are the future leaders of Nigeria. What will the future of the nation be if it’s supposedly future leaders are drug addicts?

Five major predisposing factors to drug abuse among students are peer pressure, curiosity, ignorance, academic induced frustration and lack of parental care. Adolescence and young adult are characterised by new identities/peer selection, adventurism, curiosity, excitement and role confusion. Where students are not well guided, either by the home or school, they choose wrong peers which will lead to experimenting with drugs.

Also, the storm and stress of life such as academic workload, learning to be independent from parents put them under pressure to find solace in drugs. In some cases, they take drugs to have momentary relief and out of ignorance of the consequences. Some have been initiated by peers without knowing what they took. They would probably notice that they felt differently and would want to have a similar feel. Before they realise what they are taking, they would have been addicted to a particular substance of abuse. That is why some cannot tell you exactly the name of the substance they took until they go for drug test. In some cases, they mention a substance of abuse whose effect is a contrast to their behaviour.


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