Causes and Effects of Drug Abuse among Students

Drugs have been used since civilization began for medication, meditation, divination and recreation. But at no time in history has there been such grave concern-from heads of state to the average citizen over the epidemic nature of drug abuse and the insidious social and financial consequences of illicit trafficking. “Drug abuse presents as destructive a threat to this and coming generations in earlier centuries,” Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told the Economic and social council on 24th May 1985.

What then is a drug?

A drug is usually defined as any chemical substance which brings about physiological emotional and behavioural changes in a person.

To be more explicit, a drug can be defined as a chemical compound that may be used or administered to human beings or animals as an aid to the diagnosis treatment conditions for the relief of pain or suffering or to control or improve any physiological or pathological condition.

A drug is, therefore, a term that embraces all chemical substances which are administered to the human body whether constructively or amateurishly. The term “drug” has become so all-inclusive in its use that it can be applied to millions of natural and synthetic substances for a score of purposes and intentions. Its legitimate use as a therapeutic measure is an aspect of modernization. Undoubtedly, the positive gains from such usage have been indeed most encompassing as seen in the relatively improved health status especially of the population of developing countries. Thus, for medical and scientific purposes, drugs have become indispensable to mankind.

However, it is the abuse or misuse of drug that is increasingly becoming problematic, for, it has brought new health risks. Indeed, any substance taken persistently and excessively over a long period can be detrimental to physical health and social well-being. Thus, any drug that is taken without a doctor’s prescription, or is taken to be in a stupor is known as drug abuse.

Drug abuse and alcoholism is a widespread problem- it affects children, youths and adults in every city and every country. And without doubts, drug abuse is a powerful destroyer.

It has the power to ruin the life of a person, black or white, youth or old, rich or poor, a good student or a poor one, an athlete, footballer or a fan; a teacher or student; a school prefect or a fresher.

People abuse drug for many reasons. Often, their reasons are excuses to make them think it is right to do so. They may say:

  • I need it to cope with the pressures of life

  • I just want to be part of the group

  • Drug help me forget my problems

  • Some others take them, so why not me?

  • I want fun

  • I want to be strong and alert

  • I do it because my parents don’t me to and I want to resist them and let them know I am of age.

The individual may suffer from medical complications such as liver cirrhosis and cardiovascular disorders, and excessive use of alcohol and other drugs may lead to mental disorders. Associated ability and employment, as well as disturbed social relations with resulting socio-economic effects on the family budget and health.

It has become evident that the youths are more prone to abuse, misuse and illicit trafficking of drugs. These activities render the youths who are the would-be leaders of tomorrow useless and incapable because of their reckless attitude to life and the said to be good for a set of people who will be in the mantle of leadership in this our dear country in time to come. Many reasons have been attributed to this disease, these include free access to the drugs, ignorance on their possible side effects, lack of parental care and love, illiteracy, individual chemistry, juvenile delinquency, etc.

Drug abuse among students

There is a dramatic increase in student’s involvement in drug abuse and alcoholism in our institutions of learning. This involvement is reaching a very alarming proportion. A cursory look at most of our students will reveal that drug addiction and alcoholism have become part and parcel of them and that a kind of drug culture is building up among them. Problems related to the consumption of alcohol and dependence-producing drug are reported to be widely prevalent in African countries. They appear to be increasing and in some areas area changing in nature.

Each year, many, including students slide down the slippery slope of alcohol and drug abuse into mental illness, crime and over death.

Causes and Effects of Drug Abuse amongst Students

Students like other members of the society go for hard drugs on flimsy excuses, one of such reasons is mere’ because they want to gain attraction or recognition from another person as the opposite sex. Some go for the good reason of getting well over a sickness and better so when press-chat pleasure could be found in taking drugs (Bulus 1985).

According to Dr Nwigwudu (1988), other factors which infect drug abuse include

  1. Ignorance and illiteracy: Most people believe that the more drugs prescribed by a physician, the more efficiency, and not wanting to lose these patients. The doctors resort to prescribing several drugs to retain them. They are unaware of the implications and numerous harms inflicted on themselves, each time drugs are taken randomly and in sub-clinical doses.

  2. Poverty: Per-capita income is low in undeveloped and developing nations. They cannot afford the cost of treatment in hospitals; hence they resort to patronizing quacks and taking of drugs in sub-clinical doses.

  3. Wrong choice of drugs: Most people buy the so-called alternative drugs, not just because of their efficiency but because they are cheap or available.

  4. Self-Medication: This is a major problem because of the high cost of hospital fees, the poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and the ease with which drugs are obtained from patent medicine stores, hawkers, injections and even traditional healers. The trouble is that precise diagnosis after self-medication is affected especially when the infection involves genitourinary system.

The law enforcement officials have focused more on apprehending the hemp smokers but not concentrating on tackling the crucial role of the suppliers and their sources.

Indeed, no Nigerian Government has ever set up a panel to investigate the production and movement of Indian hemp which is openly sold as earlier indicated at kiosks, beer parlours, patent medicine stores etc. to mention a few places. The occasional “finds” at the International Airports have been mainly on chance probability.

Types of Drugs Most Commonly Abused

Drugs which are commonly abused the world over can be classified into four main groups and these areas:

  1. Opiate Opium and its derivations such as morphine, heroin, codeine, and synthetic opiates including pethidine and methadone.

  2. Sedative and Hypnotic Drugs: such as barbiturates and other tranquillizers.

  3. Cocaine and Stimulants: of the amphetamine-type; and

  4. Cocaine and Stimulants: such as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide-25, Lysergide).

Louise Pasteur of France once told his students;

when meditating over a disease, I never think of finding remedy for it but means of preventing it”.

There is also this wisdom of ages that

an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

A review of common Dangerous drugs

a. Barbiturates

The term ‘barbiturate’ generally refers to drugs which derivatives of barbituric acid. They are commonly referred to as sleeping pills, a good example is a phenobarbitone. The drugs are most often linked to suicide and accidental poisoning. Others in this group include a Morbarbital Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal) and secobarbital.

Marlow (1974) gave the following information about barbiturates: they are sedatives commonly employed to relax the central nervous system which in turn brings about the relocation of the heart muscle, skeletal muscles and the nerves. Continued use or overdose may cause confusion, slurred, staggering gait and decreased the ability to concentrate and work. Since the central nervous system is responsible, not only for thinking, reasoning and sensory powers but also for vital functions such as breathing and heartbeat, It is easy to see that if it were slowed down to the point of stopping, death would inevitably result. This is what happens when people die from taking too many barbiturates or sleeping pills.

In Britain, barbiturates are commonly prescribed. Approximately 15 million prescriptions per annum were issued every year from 1961 to 1968 in the U.K. Combined with non-hypnotics they accounted for 9% of all prescriptions issued in England and Wales in 1961 and 7.9% in 1968 (Zacune and Hensman (1971).

As with amphetamines there appear to be two groups affected by barbiturates dependence and the groups are similar those described under amphetamine dependence. The larger groups dependent on barbiturates are middle-aged and mainly female. The smaller group consists of young people who take it orally, but amongst whom there was a short-lasting and exceedingly dangerous vogue for intravenous administration.

In subjects who are dependent on other drugs, illicit barbiturate use has been found to be common. Mitcheson et. al. documented the increase in the abuse of barbiturates amongst heroin addicts and described their findings in a series of sixty-five such cases.

b. Amphetamine

Amphetamines and related drugs are central nervous system stimulants with actions resembling those of the naturally-occurring substance, adrenaline. They are usually in tablets form and are usually used by students and long distance drivers. The best-known members of this group in Canada amphetamine itself (e.g. Benzedrine), dextroamphetamine (e.g. Dexedrine), methamphetamine (e.g. Methedrine), longer legally available in Canada and methylphenidate E.g. Ritalin.

Under the slang name, “uppers” amphetamines have been widely used for their mood-altering effects. “Speed” refers to injectable methamphetamine. People use these drugs -‘- a variety of non-medical reasons; to avoid sleep while lying or driving, as already stated, to attempt to improve athletic performance, and to counter the effects of depressant drugs. It is also commonly called “pep pills”, “wake up”, “jolly bean”, “dexa”, “dose” and “Chinese capsule”.

Johnson (1982) wrote that “the amphetamines and some similar drugs which are usually classified as stimulants are prescribed for a number of medical problems. These include overweight, narcolepsy (fits of sleepiness) and certain types of overactivity in children (hyperkinetic syndrome). The effects of some other drugs such as precluding and are similar to amphetamine.

According to the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, January 1981 and reproduced by Task Force on Drug Ministry of Health Headquarters, Jos, the effects of amphetamines, like those of adrenaline, are exerted not – the “brain, but also on the heart, lungs and many other organs. It affects the central nervous system and at low doses usually prescribed, central nervous system effects de reduced appetite, increased energy and alertness. Performance of tasks is faster; however, much is soon forgotten. Physical effects at low doses include faster breathing and heart-rate, increased blood pressure and dilation of pupils.

The psychological effects of a short-term use included alertness and energy, postponement of fatigue and a feeling of well-being. With increased doses, users maybe talking, restless and excited and may feel a sense of and superiority. They may be in a bizarre, repetitive Lon. Many users also become aggressive and hostile, creative children, these drugs often produce a calming effect, although the reason is not yet fully understood.

With frequent high doses of amphetamine, there is risk burst blood vessel or heart failure caused by high pressure. Occasionally these effects are fatal. There could also be weight loss, skin trouble and ulcers. Also, a person in a weakened condition tends to pick up pneumonia and other infections easily; car accidents may be caused by taking much of these drugs since they cause dizziness id confusion, poor judgement, illusion, abnormal perception and profound depression leading to suicide. Hepatitis is common among ”speed” users who regularly employ needle.

A study of boys in London remand homes in 1965 (Scott and Wilcox, 1965) showed that 18 of them had taken amphetamines shortly before their detention. Two patterns of drug use were identified among these boys. The “benign”‘ user took it on the weekends and kept to a particular dose. The “malignant” users tended to take it throughout the week and also to increase the dose with time. The drug problems in Britain appear to echo in the S.A. and to occur about five years after their appearance the West Coast of America. In 1962, American manufactures of injectable amphetamine became aware of an illicit 2 in their product and so the cut it off. In 1967, be effects of “speed” began to appear and it replaced ISB as the drug of choice in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco in the late 1960s.

c. Morphine Narcotics

The opiates are derived from the opium poppy. They include morphine, heroin, methadone and others. They are so-called ‘hard drugs’ or ‘narcotics’ described as ‘junkies’ and users as ‘junkies’. These drugs are nearly always injected with a syringe either intravenously into blood (mainline) or subcutaneously (skin popping). Hospital workers, mainly nurses, musicians and addicted patients take it.

Some of these drugs are used for the relief of severe pain. They are very important therapeutically but repeat-use leads to psychic and physical dependence with unpleasant symptoms and withdrawal syndrome. A high degree of degree tolerance develops so that continually increasing dosage squired to obtain the same effect. Most users suffer. Ill-health and some die from pneumonia, malnutrition, liver disease and. infection due to use of dirty needles. Other side effects include restlessness, nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing and death. Withdrawal symptoms are diarrhoea, stomach cramps, chills, sweating and nausea when Bse abuser stops using the drug.

d. Tobacco

There are various forms of smokable, chewable and snuff tobacco. According to Bureau of Census in America estimates, there million teenagers smoked in 1968 and by 1978 that number is believed to have been more than doubled.

The health hazards of cigarettes lie in the chemistry of smoking. More than 4,000 components have been identified in cigarette smoke with up to 500 present in the vapour phase, which is a mixture of gases, vapours and small particles which condense to form the sticky substance called ‘tar’. Some of the components of cigarette smoke are highly toxic. These include hydrogen sulphate, form aldehydes and hydrogen cyanide. Nicotine content in cigarettes varies from 0.5mgto 2mg depending on whether it is a light or strong brand.

Tobacco smoking shortens life and produces among other things colic, diarrhoea, ulceration of the lungs, asthma, coughs, pain in the heart, cancer, undernourishment and impotence.

e. Cannabis (Indian hemp)

Cannabis or marijuana or hashish in its various forms holds at present a position intermediate between drug and opiates. The drug is generally accepted and widely used and some people are known to suffer ill effects from it. Opiates, or more precisely heroin, are not generally accepted and are seen as being almost invariably harmful to the users. Cannabis, on the other hand, has changed from a drug with few users and low acceptance of the situation where it is commonly used and is accepted by some groups in the society. There is a great deal of confusion and ignorance is Britain about the destination between its actual and its alleged effects. The confusion and ignorance occur in both cannabis-using and non-using groups.

Indian hemp is the common name for a crude drug made from the plant cannabis sativa. The mind-altering (psycho-action), but more than 400 other chemicals are also in the plant. The Indian help cigarette is made from the dried particles of the plant. It is usually smoked in either hand-often mixed with tobacco for smoking. Akindele and Oloyede 91974); Awaritefe and Ebie (1975); Lambo (1960, 1965) and a host of others have indicated that cannabis is the most frequently abused drug in Nigeria.

When a single dose of Indian hemp is taken, effects disappear within a few hours or day. The most common short-term of a small dose is:

  1. A feeding euphoria and a tendency to talk and laugh more than usual
  2. An increase in the pulse rate 
  3. A reddening f the eyes which can be seen, and
  4. Becoming quiet and sleepy at a later stage.

At larger doses, these effects are increased and the user may misjudge the passage of time, so that a few minutes may seem like an hour. Perception of sounds, colour and other sensations maybe sharpened or disturbed.

Long-term effects may impair brain activities including short-term memory, judgement, hearing ability, co-ordination and the ability, coordination and the ability follow moving objects. Decrease a male sex hormone called testosterone and reduce sperm production. Interfere with menstrual cycle and cause birth defect in babies of mothers using the drug. Harm the heart, lungs and immune system and cause dependence and tolerance. They are popularly called “burnout” and the term was first used by Indian hemp smokers themselves to describe the effect of prolonged use. Young people, who smoke it heavily over long periods of time can become dulls, slow moving and inattentive. These “burned-out” users are sometime so unaware of their surroundings that they do not respond when friends speak to them, and they do not realize they have a problem.

Christiana Dye (1981) wrote “… one factor regarding marijuana use is abundantly clear: possession is still a crime in each of the 50 states and convicted users are still frequently subjected to extended jail terms for possession of the “killer wee”.

f. Tranquilizers

Tranquilizations are usually prescribed to relieve anxiety and relax muscles. Like other depressants, they are very dangerous when used with alcohol. They must not be used except on doctor’s prescription.

They are also control nervous system depressants. Minor tranquilizers are valium (diazepam), Librium (Chlordiazepoxide), Serax and Tranxene. They are among the most prescribed drugs. Major tranquilizers are Thorazine (Chlorpromazine), Mellaril (Thioridazine), Stelazing and Haldo. They are potentially dangerous when combined with alcohol.

Tranquilizers mixed with other downers like alcohol/sedative-hypnotic, sedative-hypnotic/tranquilizer can kill. Do it now Foundation Institute for chemical survival, America (1979)

g. Antibiotic

“… and don’t drink any booze or the stuff won’t work”. This said by the ‘Do it now Foundation Institute for Chemical Survival (1979) in America-That is a familiar phrase to anyone who has been prescribed an antibiotic in America. Certain antibiotics are slowed down by high blood alcohol levels.

Antibiotics commonly used include the penicillins, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, spectrin and a few others.

h. Analgesics

Analgesics are pain-relievers, such as aspirin, phensic, cafenol, rohypnol, codeine and sparine. Do it Nov/ Foundation Institute for Chemical Survival (197&) wrote that ”aspirin is the safest and the best and cheapest chemical pain reliever money can buy. It is a drug which means it can be dangerous when used too often, or in larger – than recommended quantities when used incorrectly, aspirin can cause among other things – fringing in the ears’, vertigo and hearing loss, all of which usually disappear when aspirin use is discontinued,” They also wrote that overuse of aspirin can cause permanent damage, such as ulcerative colitis, gastro-intestinal bleeding, kidney damage and aplastic anemia. Aspirin can be harmful to certain persons even when taken ‘as directed’. Those with conditions such as hemophilia (bleeders) asthma or allergic conditions should consult their doctors before using any amount of the drug.

i. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant which is derived from coffee beans, tea, kolanuts and cocoa beans and used in many soft drinks. It could also be in tablet form. Prolonged use of it causes a rise in blood pressure and attracts of tachycardia. It can cause a confessional state and mild addiction. It aggravates ulcers and causes nervousness and sleeplessness when used in excess. It can also cause dependence and tolerance. Common users are students, drivers, office workers and tolerance. Common users are students, drivers office workers and elderly people.

j. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

They are commonly referred to as ‘Hallucinogens’ because they cause some ‘unreal’ reactions. They affect a person’s thinking, awareness and senses. They include LASD, Diethylamide, Mescaline made from a cactus and Psilocybin made from a mushroom. They bring about changes in self awareness, emotions and changes in perception of time, space, delusions and hallucinations e.g. ‘seeing’ sounds and ‘hearing colours. They could also cause panic, suspiciousness, anxiety, and feeling of helplessness and loss of control. There Id also be flashbacks (experiencing the drugs’ effects without taking them again) and quick development of tolerance.

In North America, the situation with regards to LSD – has fluctuated over the years. In 1963 there was reported to be little use of hallucinogens but by 1965 and 5 the amount of use had grown tremendously and it continued to grow until 1968 when it appeared to tapper off gain. One explanation given for the decrease is that during the expansion of ISD use, impurities were introduced and many takers suffered,!bad trip1′ experiences.

LSD taking is still common amongst certain groups of people in the U.S.A. A study of 15 – 25-year-olds attending a psychiatric emergency service in Massachusetts revealed that over half of the 100 subjects studied had used marijuana and 35 had used LSD or amphetamines. In the study above of professional students and graduates, 4% admitted to LSD use.

k. Glue and Solvent Sniffing

The inhalation of the fumes from glue or from other sources has always appeared to be a minor part of drug abuse in Britain and in other developing and underdeveloped countries. A very special group, anaesthetists, has been known to include a few members who would habitually join “heir patients in inhaling the gases used in anaesthesia, but such practices are liable to be noticed by colleagues and are rare.

Hindmarch (1972) described glue and solvent-sniffing as occurring in 14 and 15-year-olds and being an almost purely adolescent phenomenon. In Canada, there was a considerable problem with glue-sniffing in 1968. At that time, 5.7 of 12-19-year-olds reported having experienced intoxication this way, but by 1972 the number had reduced to are 2,9% isolated cases of death due to glue-sniffing has Ben reported.

It is the vogue among descents in Nigeria i.e. sniffing of the solution, solvent, and even petrol. Because is cheap and easily available, these youngsters use it get “high’ thereby giving them the bravery to commit crimes like pick-pocketing or facing the opposite sex. This is the most popularly abused drug amongst youngsters the society.

More recently, the use abuse of tranquil sedatives is being gradually observed in Nigeria. Akindele and Odejide (197S), Ebie at, al. (1981), Odejide (1982 and 1983). Some of the drugs identified by these authors in survey studies of student youth populations or hospital statistics are alcohol, barbiturates, diazepam, and chloride-ciazepoxide. In our study, we have also found that with use the drawl of benzo-diazepirics in patients who use the drugs continuously for eight weeks suffer from withdrawal effects. (Odejide and Ohaeri, 1983).

Unlike the benzodiazepines, the abuse of narcotics uncommon in Nigeria especially in the early 80s. At that time the very few people who were reported to abuse h drugs were physicians, pharmacists or nurses who by virtue of their profession have easy access to these potent drugs. Similar to narcotics, the abuse of solvents, hallucinogens and cocaine were rare in Nigeria. In contrast, the last 5-6 years have witnessed a dramatic change in the abuse of these hard drugs and greatly increases especially among the youths.

Ovisu (1976) Finding in his study revealed that the largest group of hemp smokers (64%) were under the age of 25 years while those under the age of 20 years constituted -only 21% of the smokers. Similarly, Otti (1982) found that among drug abusers reporting at the Psychiatric Unit of Jos University Teaching Hospital, the major abusers (65%) were adults of 26 years and above. This was followed by the 20-25 years (23%) age group, while the under 18 years formed 12%. But by 1984, the reverse position seemed to be the case in that majority of substance abusers in the Jos metropolis were now the under 20 years age group. Thus, highlighting Ebie and Pela’s (.1981) report of a downward progression in the age of variable in drug dependency in Nigeria.

A much more disturbing picture was presented in a cent and comprehensive report on drug abuse in some urban-rural areas of Nigeria by Ebie et, al. (1988). The finding in their studies of Secondary Schools at four litres – Lagos, Ibadan, Benin and Enugu – revealed that the largest number of respondents admitted using drugs for the first time before or at the age of 10 years. The drugs only abused apart from alcohol ranged from cannabis, Tranquillo sedatives such as mandrax and stimulants e.g. pro plus amphetamine. The respondents were introduced to such drugs by friends and the suppliers came- from the medicine stores, open market, kiosks, motor parks, hospitals and peer groups. The motivation for involving in drug abuse is an attempt of the user to escape from or alter present-day reality. That could be the hard facts of life i.e unemployment, hardship, emotional deprivation as a result of the interpersonal relationship. But most teenagers use drugs often as part of that exploratory behaviour involved in growing up and as a sign of symbolic participation among one’s meaningful social network,

Asuni and Lambo (1965) noted that drugs such as opium and its derivatives and synthetic substances such as pethidine have been used as therapeutic agents, but within recent years, four senior nurses (male and female), two pharmacists and a medical doctor have had psychiatric treatment for intractable pethidine addiction in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, Ogunremi and Okonafua’ (1977) undertook I survey of University undergraduates. They found a drug abuse rate of 26% in both epidemiological studies. The drugs reported to be commonly abused were dexamphetamine, Indian hemp and-mandrax (methaqualone – 25mg, diphnlhyda-mine). Oshodi (1973) also reported a large scale use of amphetamine by young and old farmers and labourers. Adelaja (1975) reported a widespread use of hemp among Nigerian soldiers. Many cases of hemp abuse were reported during the Nigerian Civil War. This led to the promulgation of an edict that stipulated a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment for an offender. Ebie (1974) noted that in spite of this high-handedness in bringing down justice to drug peddlers the problem continues to flourish in all parts of Nigeria.

Akindele (1974) Finding found in Nigeria that abuse of hypo-sedative drugs is on the increase and that far from being confined to doctors, nurses and pharmacists; it is found in the lower socio-economic group. Akindele and Adejide (1978) used the epidemiological approach to study the prescribing habits of doctors and the use of hyposedatives among patients attending the University College Hospital Ibadan and an area of Ibadan City. They reported the over-prescribing habits of hyposedatives among the doctors and also the freedom of patients to purchase drug without prescriptions from chemists or patent medicine stores. Some of the reasons identified for abusing drugs were; to keep awake at night, to feel at ease, to gain confidence in talking to superiors, to feel happy when unhappy or fed up. Also, some of the lectors identified were the consequences of unhappy and poor background culminating in defective personality development, the pressure to succeed in academic work, and the effective control on the purchase and sale of the addictive drug.

Ogunremi and Okonofua (1971) researchers conducted a research on abuse of Drugs among Nigerian Youths – University experience. The study attempted to examine.

  1. The population of youths with the aim of identifying the most commonly used drugs.
  2. The patterns of abuse, in the hope that a way of reducing the further spread of this behaviour, among the youths, could be suggested.
  3. The main source of supply of these drugs.
  4. And the circumstances under which they are used.

They found that 40% of 500 students responded, 26% them used two main drugs – amphetamine and Indian hemp. Nearly all the hemp users had secondary education and one-third had Grade II training education. 70% of them came from the southern states of Nigeria, 2% came from neighbouring African countries while the rest came from other parts of the country.

They also found some effects on the mood and personality of the abusers. Eighteen students claimed that drugs put them in a happy excited and friendly mood, especially with members of the opposite sex. Some claimed sexual progress. 12 claimed to be put in an unprecedented state of mental alertness, while 6 reported new visual and auditory experiences.

Ogunremi and Rotimi (1979) researchers finding carried out a study in 3 Secondary Grammar Schools as a follow-up to their reported findings on the students of a Nigerian University. The respondents were carefully analyzed. Amphetamine, proplus and mandrax were found to be more commonly used than Indian hemp by the Secondary School students. Antibiotics and analgesics were found to be indiscriminately used.

A cursory look at the scenes or examples of these addicts in any city in Nigeria portrays a very pathetic and pitiful picture

The following few examples will suffice to give a clear picture or explain it all, as culled from the African Concord of 26th September 1988 titled “Nigeria’s ‘Flower’ laceration”, and I quote:

“Young but pitifully emaciated, he staggered along Logun Street, Lagos. Later, he veered into a lane behind a cluster of shops and disappeared into a building where others had already gathered. It was their meeting point. About half and hour later, he emerged with the others had already gathered: It was their meeting point. About half and hour later, he emerged with the others in high spirit. Another later, he emerged the local parlance for heroin or cocaine, has just dissolved into his nervous system.

Elsewhere in far away, Owo, Ondo State, a student of the- Ondo State Polytechnic sneaked into the toilet unnoticed. Purely out of sight, he pumped the dizzying content of syringe into a blood vein in his left forearm. An hour later, he sneezed barely stopping to catch his breath. Bose familiar with him were hardly surprised. They knew toe was on heroin.

Sauve and ebullient, she appeared set to entertain the fence at a nite Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja. Just before the jittery. The light-skin girl, 31, dashed to another pub house, a few minutes drive away and was back soon, looking more confident. She had gone to boost her ego with a sniff of ‘coke’. Since then, the singer of note continued to rely on doses of the dangerous so much so three years after the ugly show, he has become a Biking” skeleton. For still others, trying hard drugs has completely ruined their careers.”

These are the pathetic stories of our future would-be peers. The on-going campaign against the use of hard drugs in the country appears not to be’ getting to the ears of the youths who seem unperturbed about the serious threats narcotic drugs pose to their health and future. The picture is the same all over the country. From Ajegunle to Maroko, from Lagos Island to the Mainland, Isolo, Ikeja and Agege thousands of hard drug rendezvous where youths – men and women – sniff their lives out. The most notorious venues are usually pub houses, beer parlours and hotels. The trailed commodity are narcotic drugs.

The African Concord also reports that “the drug market is morphine made from opium. These drugs are freely p in many parts of the country. In Surulere, Lagos, a market has been tagged “Bourdillion Area” by traffickers. It is located around Idera and Asopo Streets, near a Police Station. Addicts call it the “free zone” because of being security the Police Station offers.”

In the first half of 1988, 45 pushers were held by the Department of Customs and Excise with drugs weighing C418 kg valued at N20, 398,000.00 while another 10 suspects were nabbed late July of the same year for attempt King to bring in or take out N9 million worth of morphine and mescaline, drugs more deadly than cocaine or heroin.

And in the international market, about 2,000 Nigerians are held in different jail houses in ten countries for drug offences. Britain leads with 1,873 convicts followed by Switzerland 30, and West Germany 20, Brazil, Portugal and Egypt have 14 inmates each. Eleven people are held in Ireland, Six in the U.S., five each in Sweden and Bulgaria, so reports the magazine. Statistics showed also that 100 people have been convicted in Nigeria since the death penalty was abolished in 1985.

Princeton Lyman, former US, Ambassador to Nigeria warned recently in Makurdi that “at the present rate, the nation is the risk of losing a whole generation of its youths to drug abuse, That is very serious indeed.


As it has already been stated, most researches that been carried out in Nigeria have focused attention only on severe drug dependence, related psychoses, complications, hospitalizations, damage to health, fatalities, disabilities and other related problems arising from drug, abuse (Hadden and Braddens et. al., 1959) Literature has also shown that most of the studies that have been carried out in Nigeria are mostly from the southern states to the detriment of the northern states, (Ogunremi and Rotimi, 1979); (Ogunremi and Okonafua,. 1971). These are the only studies that have been carried out on University and Secondary School Students. Most of the other studies are on patients reporting in the psychiatric units of some hospitals.

The only Study that has been carried out in Nasarawa state schools is that of Ovedooh (1988) in which she studied students from some selected Secondary Schools in Jos metropolis. She discovered that the students took all the types of drugs listed for the study.’ Analgetics and kolanut and coffee were found to be indiscriminately used by students and that most of the educational problems that students came across were found to be due to drugs and mostly due to the abuse of drug, kolanut and coffee. She also found out that drug was the leading drug that caused most of the social and health problems among the students.

Since this is the only study that has. been carried out in schools and since this problem is spreading all over the country, the researcher was motivated to carry out a study in schools in Akwanga Local Government Area in order to ascertain whether the students have been exposed to this habit.

It could have been better to carry out the study on a wider scale e.g. the whole of Plateau State, as such the researcher is recommending for further research to be made in the other Local Government Areas so that recommendations can be given to the Government on how to stamp out this bad habit among the students.


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Wow, this is an eye opener.

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