Psychological And Socioeconomic Factors Responsible For Substance Abuse Among Youth

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Psychological And Socioeconomic Factors Responsible For Substance Abuse Among Youth


Drug abuse is considered by most drug experts to be a more critical form of social problem. However, because the psychological and biological explanations of the problem which considers it a function of personality characteristic of the addict and lack of understanding of itssocio-economic implication on the: addicts, family and nation as a whole, the problem tends to be glossed over by both government and the masses in Nigeria. This research was designed to enquire into the socio-economic determinant of drug abuse. Specifically, the study sought to find out the common drug of abuse that led to the psychiatric hospitalization of addicts, Influencing factors of drug abuse as well as ways of nipping the social phenomenon in the bud.Semi structured/structured response type of questionnaire were used and responses gotten from 187 inpatients, whose cases were diagnosed to have been precipitated by drug abuse and other health care givers. Marijuana, alcohol, solution, tramadol-an analgesic- and benelyn and codine (found in cough syrup) were found to be the common drugs of abuse. It was equally found that psychiatric hospitalization, loss of jobs, loss of means of livelihood, and inability to engage in economic/profitable ventureswere some of the socio-economic implication of substance abuse which was found to be predicted on availability or ease of procurement of drug, hash socio-economic realities and peer group influence.Access to treatment by addicts was constrained by economic factors. Based on these findings, the study recommended, making drug education a part of school curriculum, provision of vocational centers, massive awareness campaign andequipping the anti-drug agencies properly to combat the social phenomenon of our time.

Table of Contents

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the Study
  • 1.6 Scope of the Study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.8 Definition of Terms
  • 1.9 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.1.1 The concept of drug and its abuse
  • 2.1.2 Epidemiology of drug abuse in Nigeria
  • 2.1.3 Causes of substance abuse
  • 2.1.4 Prevalence of Substance Abuse
  • 2.1.5 Peer pressure and substance abuse
  • 2.1.6 Self-esteem and substance abuse
  • 2.2 Theoretical Review
  • 2.2.1 Theory of Dialectical Materialism
  • 2.2.2 Theory of Planned Behaviour
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Source and Method of Data Collection
  • 3.5 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.6 Validation of Instrument
  • 3.7 Reliability of the instrument
  • 3.8 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.9 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Data Analysis
  • 4.3 Discussion of Results

Chapter Five:

Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.1 Summary of Findings
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Substance abuse is a global public health problem that impacts negatively on health, family, society, educational and professional life. Majority of youths ignorantly depend on one form of substance or the other for various daily activities such as social, educational, political and moral (Gobir, Sambo, Bashir & Omole 2017).Drugs are commonly used by everybody whether young or old. Drugs are not only useful for human beings; they are also useful for animals for good health. Drug is an effective substance in the life of any living thing to cure sickness and to make life healthy. It is true that drugs are used for beneficent therapeutic purposes, effective substance for good health, but they are being abused by people especially youths. They use it illegally and unlawfully, thus it becomes harmful to the body. Experimentation with substances among youths is not uncommon. However, studies have shown that youths who experiment with substances at a young age are more likely to use other drugs later in life. Some youths’ exposure may be limited to experimentation but others tend to develop into dependency, even moving to dangerous substances and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others. To complicate the matter, most youths who abuse substances also have a diagnosable mental disorder. Youths that abuse substances have higher prevalence of psychological problems compared with the general youth/adolescent population (Stanley, 2012).
Drug and drug abuse is one serious social problem ravaging most countries over time. Reference to drug and drug related problems are found throughout history, but the various dimension of the problem became more specified in modern time as a result of the development of comprehensive government record. (Aleh , 2008).

Evidence has shown that from pre-historical group to the most technologically sophisticated nation and societies, man have discovered or invented substances that reduced his tensions, relaxed him in his hours of leisure or soften the harsh realities of organized effort to master a threatening physical and social environment (Ibanga, 2004). Whether we speak of the Indians of Andes who chew cocoa plant containing alkaloid cocaine for stimulation while performing heavy labour in the high mountain altitudes, the Tunisian Marijuana smoker who enjoy the sensation of quiet introspection, the active lives of the American’s street addicts and the New York executives who cut the edge of a decisionridden day with a convivial martini or the Nigeria okada ridder who smoke cannabis to help him work the more and make some money, evidence of man’s tendency to employ chemical seems universal.

In recent years, studies have reported that the problem of drug abuse and addiction has permeated pre-teenage groups and middle-class suburbiawhere Ejikeme (1998) reported that drugs are taken by people to perceive the pleasure of the experience itself, escape from everyday pressures, attain religious or spiritual state, follow the models of prestigious user or peers, or to experience the thrill of trying something new and perhaps illegal. Whatever the case and the reason for drug abuse, its addiction are difficult behaviours to modify.

In Nigeria, some chemical substance have achieved widespread acceptance while others have been discouraged, restricted or outlawed through the activity of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) suggesting that the matter of determining which substance is to be accepted for common and everyday use and which one is singled out as detrimental to the individual or the public’s good is primarily a political decision. When an authority decides to restrict particular substances, their decision has its root in an implied or expressed understanding of the way existing social order might be threatened.Thus the fight against drug abuse involving the placement of restriction on some of the substances is an indication that the consumption of such drugs/substances might threaten the existing social order.
Findings from the works of Abebe (2008); Adugna (2006) and Girmay (2007) on the impact of substance abuse emphasized the psycho-social impact of substance abuse which among others, includes: increase in lawlessness and crime, weakening of the entire society, wrecking of individuals, and shattering of the family.With this psycho-social impact of substance abuse, there is need to determine its economic burden on the individual, the family and the society as a whole in order to provide a basis for directing social mobilization against the phenomenon. This is the objective of this research work.

The use of illicit drugs and/or hard substances by a significant number of youths has increased worldwide. Increased use over the past decades, tends towards multiple use of substance at earlier age of onset has all been noticed among these youths (Adelekan, 2011). The impact of drug abuse among Nigerian youths has been considered a moral decadent. Drug abuse has made the face of the Nigerian Youths rough and brought shame to our society. The Nigerian youths are deliberately using drugs illegally, unlawfully and intentionally. Many of our youths ignorantly or knowingly depend on one drug or the other for their daily activities. According to the statistics provided by World Health Organization (WHO), drugs including alcohol and tobacco, have caused a lot of road accidents and have claimed more lives than other sicknesses suffered by mankind. As International Drug Trafficking is gaining strength, the international cooperation against drug trafficking is steadily losing strength and lacking organization (WHO, 2015). Kiran-Esen (2003) found that, a positive relationship exists between peer pressure and risk-taking behaviour.

The influence of a peer group becomes more pervasive for the individuals from weak family settings, such as from permissive parents (Thakore, et al., 2009). For adolescents who lack positive family relationships, peer pressure plays a large role in their psychological development. This makes them more vulnerable to try novel, previously prohibited and sometimes illicit experiences (Abikoye, Sholarin, & Adekoya, 2014).

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Substance abuse is now recognized as a significant public health problem worldwide (Akindipe and Aina, 2021; cited Anyanwu, Ibekwe&Ojinnaka 2016). It is estimated that 1 in 20 adults, or a quarter of a billion people between the ages of 15 and 64 years used at least one drug in 2015 (World Drug Report, 2016). In the same vein, United Nations (2018), reiterated that cannabis was by far the most widely consumed drug worldwide in 2016, with 192.2 million past-year users, corresponding to 3.9 percent of the global population aged 15–64 years. High annual prevalence rates of cannabis use continue in West and Central Africa (13.2 percent) (United Nation Office of Drug and Crime 2018). Furthermore, in Nigeria, one in seven persons aged 15-64 years had used a drug (other than tobacco and alcohol) in the past year corresponding to 14.3 million people of this age group who had used a psychoactive substance in the past year for non-medical purposes (United Nations Office of Drug & Crime UNODC, 2018).

Substance abuse is a major public health problem all over the world (United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 2005) and the use and abuse of substances/drugs by youths/adolescents have become one of the most disturbing health related phenomena in Nigeria and other parts of the world (National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), 2007). This is because substance abuse is a problem that is causing serious concern to both individuals and governments all over the world (Fareo, 2012). The problem is prevalent among youths who seem to be ignorant of the dangers inherent in drug addiction. Many of them engaged in substance abuse out of frustration, poverty, lack of parental supervision, peer influence and pleasure. Substance abuse among youths in Nigeria is now a common phenomenon with young ladies not exempted in this evil act. Recent research shows that 15-20 percent of drug addicts are females while males constitute about 50-55 percent, all comprising of traders, students, unskilled workers and the unemployed as shown by a retrospective study carried out by NDLEA (Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, 2010). Substance usage among young people in Nigeria is well documented (Oshodi, Aina, &Onajole, 2010; Igwe, Ojinnaka, Ejiofor, Emechebe& Ibe, 2009; Omokhodion&Faseru, 2007). The degree of drug use in Nigeria is reported to be high when compared with the 2016 global annual prevalence of drug use of 5.6 percent among the adult population (UNODC, 2018).

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the psychological and socioeconomic factors responsible for substance abuse among youth. Specific objectives of this study includeto:

  1. Identify the common drug of abuse that leads to psychiatric hospitalization.
  2. Assess the psychological and socioeconomic determinants of drug abuse.
  3. Suggest ways of cubing incidence of drug abuse among youths.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the common drug of abuse that leads to psychiatric hospitalization?
  2. What are the psychological and socioeconomic determinants of drug abuse?
  3. What are the measures of cubing the incidence of drug abuse among youths?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is highly significant to youths especially and everyone in general. The findings and recommendations that are made in this study will help reduce the incidences of crime, criminality, thuggery and robbery among youths. This menace indulged by youths is usually attributable to substance abuse. Hence, this study would also help stakeholders in the health sector to proffer a lasting solution to the problem of substance abuse among youths. The study will also help the government in stipulating policies aimed at preventing substance abuse in Nigeria.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is focused on the psychological and socioeconomic factors responsible for substance abuse among youths in Nigeria. This study also seek to identify the common drug of abuse that leads to psychiatric hospitalization, assess the psychological and socioeconomic determinants of drug abuse and Suggest ways of cubing incidence of drug abuse among youths.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

This study was constrained by the unavailability of material with respect to its topic. Also, the time allocated for its completion determined its quality and quantity to a large extent. On the part of the respondents, their unwillingness to respond to the administered research instrument affected the outcome of this study.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Substance Abuse:

The use of a drug in amounts or by methods which are harmful to the individual or others. It is a form of substance-related disorder. Differing definitions of drug abuse are used in public health, medical and criminal justice contexts. In some cases, criminal or anti-social behaviour occurs when the person is under the influence of a drug, and long-term personality changes in individuals may also occur. In addition to possible physical, social, and psychological harm, the use of some drugs may also lead to criminal penalties, although these vary widely depending on the local jurisdiction.


The time of life when one is young. The word, youth, can also mean the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity), but it can also refer to one’s peak, in terms of health or the period of life known as being a young adult.[1][2] Youth is also defined as “the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc., characteristic of one, who is young”Its definitions of a specific age range varies, as youth is not defined chronologically as a stage that can be tied to specific age ranges; nor can its end point be linked to specific activities, such as taking unpaid work, or having sexual relations


A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are physicians and evaluate patients to determine whether their symptoms are the result of a physical illness, a combination of physical and mental ailments or strictly mental issues. Sometimes a psychiatrist works within a multi-disciplinary team, which may comprise clinical psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, and nursing staff. Psychiatrists have broad training in a biopsychosocial approach to the assessment and management of mental illness.

As part of the clinical assessment process, psychiatrists may employ a mental status examination; a physical examination; brain imaging such as a computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or positron emission tomography scan; and blood testing. Psychiatrists use pharmacologic, psychotherapeutic, and/or interventional approaches to treat mental disorders.

Socioeconomic Status (SES):

Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic access to resources and social position in relation to others. When analyzing a family’s SES, the household income, earners’ education, and occupation are examined, as well as combined income, whereas for an individual’s SES only their own attributes are assessed. Recently, research has revealed a lesser recognized attribute of SES as perceived financial stress, as it defines the “balance between income and necessary expenses”. Perceived financial stress can be tested by deciphering whether a person at the end of each month has more than enough, just enough, or not enough money or resources. However, SES is more commonly used to depict an economic difference in society as a whole.


The scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between the natural and social sciences. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, linking the discipline to neuroscience.

1.9 Organization of the Study

There are five chapters in this study, the first of which discusses the background, statement of the research problem, aims, research question, and research hypotheses as well as the study’s significance, scope, and limitations. Chapter 2 contains conceptual, theoretical, and empirical reviews. The study methodology is covered in Chapter 3. This chapter covers the research design, the study’s population, the sample size and technique, the data collection source and method, the study’s instruments, the data analysis method, the validity and reliability of the study as well as ethical considerations. Chapter four entails data presentation, data analysis and discussion of findings. Chapter five encompasses summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of Findings

To give the findings of this study a context for comprehension, this debate is being conducted. This study’s key finding is that there are no religious, age, or educational barriers to drug misuse. Although there are variations in the amount of people abusing drugs, its effects have been far-reaching and have touched many facets of societal life. The fact that the virus segment of our community is admitted to the psychiatric institution for drug-related issues is very significant in this regard.

Conversely, although some research have found a moderate link between drug misuse and poverty, Galea and Vlahov (2002), quoted in Straehle (2012), found a very high link between drug addiction and poor socio-economic position. This low socioeconomic position, according to Straehle (2012) and Buchanan (2006), can also be made worse if or when a drug user develops a drug use disorder that causes drugs to become his or her main focus in life.

This study expands on these findings by integrating how an addict’s capacity to meet other basic demands of life affects their ability to eat, learn, dress, shelter, provide for their family, and pursue a career. In addition to their everyday necessities suffering, the study also discovered that their access to treatment was limited due to a lack of funds to seek it. As they work to resolve problems with money, they are once more met with traditions and beliefs that are ineffective in treating drug-related psychosis and are in opposition to allopathic therapy.Under these circumstances, the national economic development suffers as these drug abusers are unable to contribute their quota to the economic development of the country in addition to prevention, treatment and hospital cost.

Further socioeconomic implication of drug abuse is the loss in productivity resulting out of influence of drug on the workers ability to produce. This low productivity is again extended while they are under treatment, incarceration or hospitalized. And as lamented by Ejikeme (1999):

Where several children and young able-bodied people or youth of the nation who should be intellectually and emotional productive are in jail, hospitalized, thrown out of jobs and schools for drug related offences and disorder, there will be serious, loss of man power to the nation especially a developing country that should converse and maximally utilize its human and natural resources (cited in Aleh, 2008) . The researcher have discovered and presented this gloomy picture as most of the addicts were youths bellow 35 years.

5.2 Conclusion

Even though it is a hiatus task accounting in real sense the monetary cost of drug abuse in Nigeria, examining its socio-economic determinant, implication and understanding the areas that are affected by drug abuse provided us a perfect picture of the ways in which drug abuse impact on the socio-economic life of people in Nigeria. Incalculable damage is done to the Nigerian economy each year due to drug and drug related problems. In this study, we have examined these impact by assessing reported cases of addiction to hard drugs at the psychiatric unit of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Jos. Our analysis of the economic implication of drug abuse took into cognizance expenditure connected with treatment and losses related with jobs, livelihood, and source of income. We equally considered policy gain choices and other externalities resulting from efforts at curbing the menace of drug abuse.

5.3 Recommendation

On the basis of the findings, the study recommended the following:

  1. Making drug education part of the school curriculum,
  2. Provision of vocational centres
  3. Massive awareness campaign
  4. Properly equipping the anti-drug agencies to make them combat ready to fight drug abuse in Nigeria.

These recommendations can be achieved through networking, and through the chain of information flow and interaction, the social orientation, social norms and social values can be revitalized to conquer drug related challenges.

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