Psychological Correlates Of Hazardous Drug Use Among Undergraduate (A Study Of University Of Uyo Undergraduates)

Project and Seminar Material for Psychology

Psychological Correlates Of Hazardous Drug Use Among Undergraduate (A Study Of University Of Uyo Undergraduates)


The aim of this study was to critically investigate the psychological correlates of hazardous drug use in Nigeria. Stratified random sampling was used to select 14 of the 49 clinics in the public health sector in University of Uyo, and every “nth” patient, with those ages 18–25 oversampled (N = 2,618). Data were collected from December 2003 through 2004, using the World Health Organization Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test. Hazardous use of tobacco was most common, followed by alcohol and then other drugs. Hazardous tobacco use was associated with the 18–25 years age group, no religious involvement, high school completion, and higher stress. Hazardous alcohol use was associated with male gender, younger men, no religious involvement, employment, some high school education, and higher stress. Hazardous use of other drugs was associated with Colored (mixed) race (particularly among men), no religious involvement, employment, and stress. For all substances, women, particularly Black women, had the lowest rates of hazardous use. Although the study is cross-sectional, it does identify groups that may be at high risk of substance misuse and for whom intervention is urgent. Because prevalence of substance use is high in this population, routine screening should be introduced in primary care clinics.
Keywords: Alcohol; tobacco; drugs; hazardous use; prevalence;

Chapter One


1.1 Background of Study

The use of drugs by young people especially the undergraduates around the world is now a serious problem considering the hazards and dangers it has on their health and emotional well-being. In Nigeria, the use of drugs is mostly associated with youths, to be more specific the undergraduates. Substance use has contributed to the increasing incidence of psychological problems among the youths.

A drug is the only substance that could bring about a change in the biological function through its chemical actions. According to World Health Organization (2006), a drug is any substance that when taken or absorbed into the body of a living organism alters the normal bodily functioning. A drug can also be seen as any substances that have a physical and psychological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body (Okoye, 2001).

Balogun, (2006) also considers drug use as any substance that modifies perceptions, cognitions and mood, behavior and general functions. Drug alters the body function either positively or negatively depending on the body composition of the user, the type of drug used, the amount used and whether used singly or alongside other drugs. National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (2000) explained drug abuse as an excessive and persistent self administration of drugs without regards to the medically or culturally accepted patterns. World Book Encyclopedia, (2004) defined drug abuse as the non-medical use of drug that interferes with a healthy and productive life. Manbe, (2008) defined drug abuse as the excessive, maladaptive or addictive use of drugs for non medical purpose. Abdulahi, (2009) viewed drug abuse as the use of drugs to the extent that it interferes with the health and social functions of an individual. In essence, drug may be defined as the arbitrary over-dependence or misuse of one particular drug with or without prior medical diagnosis from a quality health practitioner. Mersy, (2003) described substance use/abuse as a problematic use of alcohol, tobacco or illicit and prescription drugs. It may also be viewed as the unlawful overdose in the use of drugs. Drug use is a worldwide phenomenon which can impact negatively on health, family and society, educational and professional life.

Moronkola, (2003) pointed out that some substances alter the mind; change the users feeling, perception and behavior when they are used because they exert action on the brain. Drugs generally affect one or more of the mental faculties including mood, feelings, thoughts, perception, memory, cognition and behavior. Studies have shown that early initiation into drug use is one of the best predictors of future drug abuse and dependence. Studies have shown that youths constitute the high risk group of drug dependence and substance abuse (Obot, 1989; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, 1996). Studies have also shown that the mostly abused drugs or a drug that are mostly used hazardously among undergraduates in Nigeria includes alcohol and tobacco (Okanafua 1992; Okatahi, 2003). The abuse of various mood-altering substances has been reported to be prevalent among Nigerian youths (Lambo, 1960).

Global studies on drug use and abuse has revealed that early initiation of drug use is one of the best predictors of future drug use and dependence. A lot of factors account for the increased use of drugs by undergraduates in Nigerian universities. The use of drugs may be triggered off by emotional stress in an effort to alleviate a number of social problems. Youths generally use or abuse those drugs in an arbitrary fashion with negative consequences to their emotional, psychological and general well-being. According to Osayomi (1999), from ancient times, the use of drugs has always been an inseparable part of occultism and the youths in tertiary institutions are deeply involved in this practice. Drug use and abuse is the primary reason why many youths and undergraduates are incarcerated as well as a source of crime and health problems in our society today. It has become a big problem that the number of undergraduates incarcerated in various prisons across the country has increased dramatically over the last decades. Some of the factors contributing to this arrest are the public awareness of the dangers in drug abuse and the “wars on drugs” declared by the federal government using various agencies such as National Drug Laws Enforcement Agencies (NDLEA), National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC) etc.

The abuse of various mood-altering substances has been reported to be prevalent among Nigerian youths (Lambo, 1960). Drug abuse remains a major health challenge all over the world (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2005). Many of the Nigerian youths ignorantly depend on one form of drug or the other (such as tobacco, Indian hemp, cocaine, morphine, Heroine, Alcohol, Ephedrine, Madras, caffeine, glue, Berbiturates and Amphetamines) for their various daily activities. (Oshikoya & Alli, 2006).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Hazardous drug use may be seen as pattern of alcohol consumption that intensifies the risk of adverse consequences for the individuals and others. Problematic alcohol use may have several deleterious effects on teachers’ physical and mental health, on the students and on the teachers’ performance in the classroom. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dismissal from job or neglect of his responsibilities such as marking examination scripts or attending staff meetings. There may also be frequents altercations with other members of staff in the school.

Furthermore, it may lead to poor time management (leading to lateness to class), absenteeism, lack of concentration and limited opportunities for promotion and advancement at work.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to critically investigate the psychological correlates of hazardous drug use among students in University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

1.4 Significance of the Study

In this study, the researcher set out to investigate the psychological correlates of hazardous drug use among students in University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Therefore, this study will be immense benefits to all the public and private hospitals in Nigeria.

The medical experts would also benefits from this study as the recommendations made in this study will further enhance their experience. This study will also help to serve as literature (reference source) to students, individuals or corporate bodies into what to carry out on further research on the similar topic.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study concerns about psychological correlates of hazardous drug use among students in University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

There is no study undertaken by a researcher that is perfect. The imperfection of any research is always due to some factors negatively affecting a researcher in the course of carrying out research. Therefore, time constraint has shown no mercy to the research. The limited time has to be shared among many alternative uses, which includes reading, attending lectures and writing of this research, also distance and its attendant costs of travelling to obtain information which may enhance the writing of this study was a major limitation.

1.8 Definition of Terms


The proportion of individuals in a population who have a disease, disorder or other characteristic at a specific instant in time.


This describes a situation where sampling takes place in a number of sampling design stages involving different sampling strategies (e.g., stratified sampling followed by cluster sampling).

Cluster sampling:

This involves the selection of affiliated units, or clusters (e.g., students design attending specific health facilities) for study.


This describes the situation where there is division or stratification of sampling design a population into relatively homogenous groups called strata, and the selection of samples independently in each of the strata.

Reason for:

The reason the student gives for seeking care at the institution encounter.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the conclusion and recommendations for further studies.

5.2 Conclusion

Based on the findings of this study, it is concluded that hazardous drug use, tobacco was the most frequent. This is quite disturbing, considering the significant physical health risks associated with its use. Consistent with a previous epidemiological study, about half of tobacco users started as adolescents. Prevention efforts targeting adolescents may further reduce the burden of tobacco use in low income countries. Smoking cessation programmes should be integrated into mental health services to reduce tobacco related mortality arising from the epidemic in low and middle income countries (WHO, 2005).

5.3 Recommendations

  1. Routine screening and brief interventions for substance use in psychiatric facilities should be critical components of mental health service delivery.
  2. There is an urgent need to address the enormity of problematic alcohol use among students in Nigerian Universities considering the important role they play in school based drug abuse prevention strategies.

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