Impact Of Drug Abuse On Reproductive Health (A Case Study Of Southern Ijaw L.G.A , Bayelsa State)

Health Education Project Material

Impact Of Drug Abuse On Reproductive Health (A Case Study Of Southern Ijaw L.G.A , Bayelsa State)


Alcohol and substance abuse is among the most commonly reported adverse psychological problems for young women in Nigeria, young women of ages 18-25 years report the highest rates of current alcohol use (57%) including cigarette use (14%) and nicotine drinking (41%) while Marijuana use has been on the high increased. Drug abuse and dependence otherwise known as substance or chemical abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a destructive pattern of applying drugs thereby leading to significant problems or disorder. This devastating problem cuts across every strata of human society but mostly rampant among the adolescence. This study, “Impact of drug abuse on reproductive health” is written to appraise the effects of drug abuse and how it affects the reproductive system of both male and female in the southern region of Ijaw, Bayelsa State. The research concludes that the effects of substance abuse to the reproductive system has been on the rampage and is becoming an addiction hence recommends that public sensitization should be carried out periodically on the dangers of drug abuse while the regulatory bodies be strengthened to carry out their functions effectively so as to reduce the trend.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Survey by World Health Organization reveals that young people are exposed to alcohol at many levels in society, particularly through advertising and peer pressure. As a result, harmful drinking habits are on the rise among adolescents and other youth. The 73 countries that responded to a World Health Organization (WHO) survey on alcohol and health, 71 percent reported that underage drinking had increased in the previous five years. And vulnerable young people, such as street youth and sex hawkers, are at far greater risk of early initiation of alcohol use and frequent consumption of drugs than the general young population. Many of the negative consequences that can result from alcohol use have been well documented, including drugs-related accidents and injuries, alcohol fueled homicide and suicide, drugs dependence, and alcohol poisoning. This brief describes the consequences of drugs use on young people’s sexual and reproductive health. It also addresses policies and programs aimed at reducing alcohol use and its negative consequences among young people as well as programmatic responses to drugs use and abuse.

Drug abuse being, an extreme desire to obtain and use increasing amount of one or more substance, this include alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, cigarettes, codeine and other substances which are harmful to the health of the individual. When considering drug abuse one should be able to differentiate it from drugs dependence or drugs addiction, which is the physical dependence on drugs to function. Despite the unrelenting effort of individuals, agencies, mass media and the government at different levels against drug abuse, the prevalent practice among secondary school students, and even adults in the community has not reduced but on the increase geometrically. The World Health Organization (WHO), defines drug as any substance other than those required for maintenance of normal health, which when taken into the living organism, may modify one or more of its functions (Ghodse, 2003).

According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Report (2005), about 200 million people, or 5 percent of the world’s population age between 15 and 65 have used drugs at least once in the last 12 months. Likewise, according to the World Drug (2005) reported that, the use of illicit drugs in all Nations has increased in recent years. The report goes on to note that the increasing availability of a variety of drugs to an ever widening socio-economic spectrum of consumers is disconcerting, although the main problem at the global level continues to be opiates (notably heroine) followed by cocaine. Drug abuse and other associated problems are inimical to the survival and effective functioning of human societies. A significant number of health hazards, untimely deaths, and accidents have been linked with the activities of persons under the influence of one drug or the other. Over the past two decades, the abuse of drugs in Kenya has rapidly increased and risen to unprecedented level and no part of the country is safe from the scourge (Ngesu et al, 2008).

Many people have defined drug abuse in different ways neglecting it actual causes. In medicine, drugs refer to any substance with the potential to prevent or cure diseases. Drugs can be legal or illegal. Drug abuse refers to non-medical use of drugs.

The reproductive system consists of organs that function in the production of offspring. The female reproductive system produces the female reproductive cells (the eggs, or ova) and contains an organ (uterus) in which development of the fetus takes place; the male reproductive system produces the male reproductive cells (the sperm) and contains an organ (penis) that deposits the sperm within the female. The external female reproductive organs collectively are called the vulva (which means “covering” in Latin). The vulva serves to protect the urethral and vaginal openings and is highly sensitive to touch to increase the female’s pleasure during sexual arousal (Coad &Dunstall, 2005). The structures that make up the vulva include the mons pubis, the labia majora and minora, the clitoris, the structures within the vestibule, and the perineum.

In the male reproductive system, the testes are inside a baglike structure called the scrotum. It hangs outside the male’s body cavity, which keeps the testes slightly cooler than the rest of the body. Normal human body temperature is too warm for sperm production. The cooler temperature in the scrotum enables sperm production.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Alcohol and cigarette are said to be legal, but these substances have also led to the initiation of other more potent drugs like heroin and cocaine. Abuse of drugs has created several health issues and dangers in our society today. Such as miscarriages, mental illness, cancer of the lungs, cultism, gangsters, rape cases and even juvenile delinquency. The alarming rate of drug in the southern Ijaw L.G.A is very common and it effects are so numerous. This study, therefore, attempts to investigate the contributions of family background, peer groups and family cohesion to drug abuse on reproductive health among male and female in Bayelsa State.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to examine the impact of drug abuse on reproductive health in the southern Ijaw L.G.A, Bayelsa State.

The specific objectives include the following:

  1. To examine the causes of drug abuse among southern Ijaw people in Bayelsa State.
  2. To determine the impact of drug abuse on reproductive of pregnant women in southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State.
  3. To ascertain if there is any significant relationship between drug usage and a woman’s reproductive health.
  4. To ascertain if there is any significant difference in the causes of drug abuse between men and women in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

Hypotheses One
  • HO: there is no significant relationship between drug usage and a woman’s reproductive health.
  • H1: there is a significant relationship between drug usage and a woman’s reproductive health.
Hypotheses Two
  • HO: there is no significant effect of drugs abuse on the reproductive health of pregnant women in Southern Ijaw L.G.A.
  • H2: there is a significant effect of drugs abuse on the reproductive health of pregnant women in Southern Ijaw L.G.A.

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the end of this study the findings will be of utmost benefits to married men and women as it serves as a means of curtailing the effects of drugs on their reproductive system. The findings will be relevant to those who will want to carry out a similar research topic as it has contributed to the existing literature. Finally, the study will be relevance to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other relevant bodies in combating drug abuse and addiction on our schools and campuses.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study examined the impact of drug abuse on health of the southern people of Ijaw, Bayelsa State, in relation to their family background, family cohesion, peer group influence, and it effects on their reproductive system. The researcher encountered some constraint during the period of the study such as;

Time constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Financial constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

1.7 Definition of Terms


A drug is any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue causes a physiological change in the body.


Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of an entity, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit.

Drug Dependence:

Drug dependence also known as substance dependence is an adaptive state that develops from repeated drug administration, and which results in withdrawal upon cessation of drug use.

Legal Drugs:

Legal drugs, also known as legal intoxicants or, more commonly, as legal highs, are those intoxicating drugs which are either completely legal or not commonly prohibited by various drug laws.

Illegal Drugs:

Illegal drugs are drugs which have limitations on their ownership or use by a government, and are illegal in certain situations (meaning a person is not allowed to have them).


Stimulants also referred to as psych-stimulants is an overarching term that covers many drugs including those that increase activity of the body, drugs that are pleasurable and invigorating, or drugs that have sympathomimetic effects.


Inhalants are a broad range of household and industrial chemicals whose volatile vapors or pressurized gases are concentrated and breathed in via the nose or mouth to produce intoxication (called “getting high” in slang), in a manner not intended by the manufacturer.

Reproductive System:

The reproductive system or genital system is a system of sex organs within an organism which work together for the purpose of sexual reproduction. Many non-living substances such as fluids, hormones, and pheromones are also important accessories to the reproductive system.

1.8 Organization of the study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the impact of drug abuse on reproductive health of the southern people of Ijaw L.G.A, in Bayelsa State. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges and causes of drug abuse and its effects on reproductive health among men and women.

5.2 Summary

The impact of cocaine on human reproduction can be divided into three stages; preconception, pregnancy and postpartum. Approximately 4% of women use illicit drugs during their pregnancy, and cocaine is one of the most commonly abused drugs. Preconception and prenatal cocaine use is commonly associated with poor pregnancy outcomes with psychosocial, behavioral, and risk factors, such as poverty, poor nutrition, stress, depression, physical abuse, lake of social support, and sexually transmitted infection. Illicit drug use during pregnancy is a major risk factor for maternal morbidity and neonatal complications. Cocaine use during early pregnancy can cause spontaneous abortion, miscarriage, placental abortion and stillbirth. Beside cocaine effect on embryonic and fetal development, cocaine stimulates uterine contractility leading to an increased risk factor of preterm rupture of membranes, preterm labor, and preterm delivery. Moreover, congenital anomalies haven reported including brain malformation and cardiovascular abnormalities.

5.3 Conclusion

This study adds to existing literature on alcohol and substance abuse and reproductive health by describing the types and frequency of substance use among young women during pregnancy. It is certain that social support from family members predicts substance use during pregnancy among our sample of young women. As hypothesized, pregnant women are less likely to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana or cigarettes during periods when they report social support, and when they report support from larger family networks.Findings here proves that a mother taking illegal drugs during pregnancy increases her risk for anemia, blood and heart infections, skin infections, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. She also is at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases. A woman’s drug use can affect both her fetus and her newborn. Most drugs cross the placenta the organ that provides nourishment to the fetus. Some can cause direct toxic (poisonous) effects and drug dependency in the fetus. After birth, some drugs can be passed to the baby through breast-feeding.

Maternal alcohol ingestion in pregnancy may have deleterious effects on the CNS and other organs of the developing embryo and fetus, depending on the dose, duration and developmental stage of the embryo at exposure. These embryotoxic effects of alcohol were observed in many animal species. It is therefore important to reduce alcohol drinking during pregnancy to the minimum. However, as of today, it is still difficult to define the minimal dose that will affect the developing embryo and the exact dose response relationship. Educational interventions should start at school and in adolescents and young adults it should start before pregnancy. Early recognition of intrauterine alcohol exposed children may allow nutritional, behavioral and schooling support. Several studies on ethanol exposed pregnant animals are promising in regards with the possible amelioration of alcohol-induced embryotoxicity.

5.4 Recommendations

Married men and women have great potential to contribute to the process of decision making and the implementation of programmes for their own benefit as well as the development of society at large. It is in this vein that recommendations were made by the researcher:

Pregnant women who smoke should consider the health of their new born babes and discuss with health care providers the potential risk to the fetus from continuing to smoke and from drinking of alcohol.

National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency and Task Force for health care providers should ask pregnant women about drug abuse, tobacco use and provide the appropriate counseling necessary to protect both the child and the mother. Measures should be taken to reduce that selling of hard substance like marijuana, nicotine etc in public and is not perceived by the public as a cognitive enhancing substance.

Supportive care should be provided for cocaine-addicted mothers and newborn immediately following delivery. As Cocaine use during pregnancy is considered a significant risk factor for infant neglect and abuse, which often results in the removal of the infant from maternal custody.

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