Perceived Cause And Effect Of Substance Abuse Among Youths

Medical and Health Science Project and Seminar Material

Perceived Cause And Effect Of Substance Abuse Among Youths


Abstract


Substance abuse is one of the health-related problems among Nigerian youth and has been a source of concern to educational stakeholders. Its social implications to undergraduate students cannot be quantified. In light of this, this study examined causes and effects of substance abuse among undergraduates at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. A descriptive survey design was adopted for the study and a simple random sampling technique was used to select the respondents for the study. The instrument used was a researcher-designed questionnaire on the causes and effects of substance abuse among undergraduates. The instrument was validated by lecturers in the Department of Social Sciences Education and it possessed a coefficient of 0.72 using a test re-test method. All of the undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin formed the population of the study. The demographic data of the respondents and substance abuse variable were described and analyzed using percentages. Means were used to analyze the research question, while t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to test the null hypotheses at a 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study revealed that the major cause of substance abuse among undergraduates at the University of Ilorin was the need to cope with academic challenges. Findings also revealed that the main effects of substance abuse among undergraduates of the University of Ilorin was low self-esteem. It was further revealed that there were no significant differences in the causes and effects of substance abuse among undergraduates of the University of Ilorin based on gender and their faculty. It was, however, recommended among others that the government should enact measures on people that are selling drugs indiscriminately and should be supervising the target area, and if possible, check the activities of the victims of substance abuse. The Ministry of Education in conjunction with the National Campaign against Substance abuse (NACADA) should engage in appropriate interagency agreements in order to streamline the provision of services to support students with social and behavioral problems emanating from substance abuse.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

Substance abuse among Nigerian youth has been a scourge to the overall sustainable development of the nation. Substance abuse is a serious issue; a global and international issue particularly in developing countries like Nigeria. Substance abuse is also a major public health, social and individual problem and is seen as an aggravating factor for economic crises; hence, for Nigeria’s poverty status. While youth are supposed to be the major agent of change and development, some of them have been destroyed by substance abuse (rendering them unproductive). Substance abuse has become a global concern in Nigeria because of its effect on youth and the nation as a whole. Substance abuse has a negative impact on the education of undergraduates in different universities across the globe. The overall health of the user is affected negatively and behaviours associated with substance abuse predispose the abuser to crime and contagious diseases including HIV/AIDS (Center for Disease Control, 2000).

Educational stakeholders like parents, teachers and the society at large are worried over the prevalence of substance abuse and its causes and effects on the undergraduates of the University of Ilorin in Kwara State. Drugs are produced for a variety of different reasons including those associated with ensuring a state of wellbeing, curing illness, and sustaining mental and physical stability. Modern medical substances commonly known as ‘medicine’ (many derived from plants), do not constitute any danger. If properly administered, drugs can assist human beings in many positive ways. The term ‘drug’ refers to “any substance, when taken into a living organism, limits ill-health”, however if drugs are abused, they can become very “destructive to the individual and to society at large”. A drug is a chemical modifier of the living tissues that could bring about physiological, sociological and behavioural changes (Nnachi, 2007; Okoye, 2001).

Drugs, are substances which, when taken, can limit cognition, perception, mood, behaviour and overall body function. It can also produce a change in biological functions through its chemical actions (Balogun, 2006). A drug is used for reasons such as curing or alleviating pain and diagnosing ill-health and is seen as a common process in many communities. Studies by Kypri, Cronin and Wright (2005), and Melchior, Chastang, Goldberg and Fombonne (2008) submitted that across the countries of the world, substance abuse tends to be rampant among youngsters between the ages of 18 and 25 (the current age of university undergraduates).

Falco (2008) stated that the chronic use of drugs can cause serious damage, sometimes irreversible physical and social damage (either temporarily or for a long period of time). Internal damage could result as well. To this effect, some of these undergraduates, who are still in their growing stage, become insane, socially misfit in school situations and eventually drop out of school. The misuse of medication, self-medication and the use of illegal substances is called Substance abuse. Some of these substances in the form of medication give pleasure to the user and some brain nerves becomes the end user (which is known as pleasurable pathways). The user at first may enjoy it and will want to experience the sensation again (Seraphim, 2005).

A person who allows himself/herself to be controlled by a psychoactive substance is called a ‘substance abuser’ (Merck, 2009). A substance abuser brings forth a condition called neurological functions and his/her moods, perception, consciousness, and energy levels change and the drugs can take over his/her normal functioning and well-being (King, 2008). The negligent use of any substance, mostly the ones that have effects on one’s consciousness like alcohol, cocaine, codeine, and methamphetamines results in discomfort and malfunction (Merck, 2009).

The following habits were noted by Santrock (2001) and Nyaga (2001) by those who abuse substances – they exhibit watering eyes and nose, become abnormally talkative or unusually quiet, experience unpredictable tempers, their concentration lapses and they have a loss of interest in education. Some become careless, neglect their personal hygiene, become generally irresponsible, are highly irritable or hostile to close friends, and wear dirty and tattered clothes (or they do not change their clothes for many days). Santrock (2001) and Nyaga (2001) further stated that such behaviours present many challenges to school administrators.

In the early 1960s, after independence, Nigeria noticed rampant cases of substance abuse (Okon, 2002). During that period, the number of drugs that were mostly abused were limited to tobacco, kolanut and alcohol. These days, many young ones now resort to everything including tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs; the products that are most available to them (Okon, 2002). This situation, among others, has resulted in the creation of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which was established by Decree No. 48 in 1989 to handle issues relating to the abuse and trafficking of narcotic drugs and other psycho-tropic substances, other than food which by its chemical nature, affects the structure and function of living organisms (Fareo, 2012).

Many justifications have been attributed to the use of drugs especially among undergraduate students. In line with this, Olatude (2000) and Akunyili (2003) in their own views, stated that people use drugs for a variety of reasons which includes: 1) their the need to belong to a social group or class; 2) pressure from friends and peers; 3) for self-medication; 4) because of parental deprivation at various levels; 5) for pleasure; 6) to overcome illness; 7) to gain confidence; 8) to overcome shyness; 9) to be able to facilitate communication; 10) to overcome many other social problems; and 11) to induce themselves to work above their physical capacity.

Moreover, many people interchangeably use the concepts of ‘drugs’, ‘drug misuse’ and ‘substance abuse’, but there are definite differences between the concepts. Drug misuse is to use a drug for a purpose which it should not be used for. The misuse of drugs means following the medical instructions but the person may not necessarily be looking to ‘get high’ from their use. While substance abuse typically refers to those who do not have a prescription for what they are taking. Not only do they use it in a way other than it is prescribed but they also use it to experience the feelings associated with the drug. Euphoria, relaxation, the general feeling of ‘getting high’ is always associated with substance abuse. The abuse of drugs always results in unavoidable side effects, including dependency and addiction.
Nigeria introduced its drug control effort in 1985 when a dangerous drug ordinance was enacted to control trafficking and abuse (Johnson, 2002). By 1994, another landmark effort was made when the Federal Military Government promulgated the special tribunal (miscellaneous offences) Decree No. 20 of 1984 to stop drug trafficking within Nigeria shores. This is because a drug menace continued to rise in profile (Johnson, 2002). According to NAFDAC (2000), the following drugs were used and misused in Nigeria. They are stimulants, hallucinogens, sedatives, miscellaneous and tranquilizers.

a. Stimulants:

These are substances that act and stimulate the central nervous system directly. The users of these substances at the initial stage experience pleasant effects such as energy increases. The major source of these comes from caffeine substances.

b. Hallucinogens:

These are drugs that alter the sensory processing unit in the brain. They produce distorted perception, feelings of anxiety and euphoria, sadness and inner joy. They normally come from marijuana, LSD, etc.

c. Narcotics:

These drugs relieve pain, induces sleep and are addictive. They are found in heroin, codeine, opium, etc.

d. Sedatives:

These drugs are among the most widely used and abused because of the belief that they relieve stress and anxiety. Some of them induce sleep, ease tension, cause relaxation or help users to forget their problems. They are sourced from valium, alcohol, promethazine, and chloroform.

e. Miscellaneous:

This is a group of volatile solvents or inhalants that provide euphoria, emotional disinhibiting and ever-lasting distortion of thought to the user. The main sources are glues, spot removers, tube repair, perfumes, chemicals, etc.

f. Tranquilizers:

Tranquilizers are believed to produce calmness without bringing drowsiness. They are chiefly derived from Librium, Valium among others.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Increasing youth involvement in substance use and abuse is a major threat to national development, family stability and social security from which they need to be protected (Antwi, Adjei, Asare &Twene, 2003). Studies by Kypri, Cronin and Wright (2005), Balogun, (2006), Nanchi, (2007), Melchior, Chastang, Goldberg and Fombonne (2008), (Fareo, 2012) and Adigun (2014) worked on substance abuse and drug effect related studies. None of the aforementioned researchers did their research work on the causes and effects of substance abuse among undergraduates of the University of Ilorin. Therefore, this study uses different statistical tools and population. This is why the researcher deemed it fit to carry out research on the perceived causes and effescts of substace abuse among youths using undergraduates of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.


1.3 Research Questions

  1. What are the causes of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria?
  2. What are the effects of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin?

1.4 Research Hypotheses

Ho1: There is no significant difference in the causes of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin on the basis of gender.

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the effects of substance abuse among Undergraduates of University of Ilorin on the basis of gender.

Ho3: There is no significant difference in the causes of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin on the basis of faculty.

Ho4: There is no significant difference in the effects of substance abuse among Undergraduates of University of Ilorin on the basis of faculty.


1.5 Significance Of The Study

There is evidence that there is an abuse of substance problem among the teenage population. Many people including the research have witnessed many instances of substance abuse among youth people. There is more news coverage of the national increase in youthful substance abuse and the attendant problem that go with it. Youths aim to drink because of peer pressure and emotional stress among other factors. It has been indicated earlier on that several attempts have been made but with no success. It is therefore necessary to develop a health education programme based on the identified influencing factors that lead to youth substance abuse problems.

Youth is considered a critical period for the forming of coping behaviour and responses such as using drugs to deal with stress, peer pressure and emotional distress (American Journal of Public Health, 1997). It seems therefore that drug prevention programmes that focus on reducing exposure to risk factors and modifying the factors that are already present should be implemented.

Health education programmes emphasizing health effects of substance abuse and prevention may be successful, in particular, programmes emphasizing both immediate physiological effects of substance abuse and skill training in coping with social pressures to abuse substances. Drink and drug refusal training may teach youths how to refuse offers with confidence and without making limp excuses. This can also be an invaluable tool for helping to prevent relapses for clients with abstinence goals. Such programmes may show effectiveness as cessation strategies i.e. with youth, who have already adopted a habit of substance abuse. Knowledge and understanding of effects of substance abuse can help youths to retrain from abusing substances and therefore concentrate on their studies resulting in responsible future citizens of their country. With increasing understanding of substances and with gradual lessening of the stigma, it is hoped that substance abuse will be diagnosed early before the sufferer can lose health, home or happiness.


Chapter Five


5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The findings of this study revealed that the major causes of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin was the need to cope with academic challenges. Findings also revealed that the main effects of substance abuse among undergraduates of the University of Ilorin was low self-esteem. Findings further revealed that there was no significant difference in the causes of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin based on gender and their faculty. In addition, findings revealed that there was no significant difference in the effects of substance abuse among undergraduates of University of Ilorin based on gender and faculty.


5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations were made based on the findings of the study.

  1. The government should enact measures on people that are selling drugs indiscriminately and they should be supervising the target area at least monthly if possible and also check the activities of the victims of substance abuse.
  2. The Ministry of Education in conjunction with the National Campaign Against Substance abuse (NACADA) should engage in appropriate interagency agreements in order to streamline the provision of services to support students with social and behavioural problems emanating from substance abuse.
  3. School administrators should develop, implement and regularly review, in consultation with the school community and governing council, a school behavioural code which is consistent with the substance abuse policies.
  4. Parents and caregivers should have access to substance abuse information, support materials and related documents and be aware of their rights to advocacy and of avenues open to them should they have grievances relating to the school’s management of student’s behavior.
  5. Teachers should develop and foster positive relationships with students and families; communicate and interact effectively with students.

Perceived Cause And Effect Of Substance Abuse Among Youths


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