Public Perception Of Drug Abuse Among Youths

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Public Perception Of Drug Abuse Among Youths


Drug abuse is one of the challenges facing different economies. The use of drugs as not prescribed by an authority or an expert is on the high level. This situation has given a push to different crimes in the society. The abuse of Drug has not just cause a psychological effect on the youths but has changed their mindset as the see drugs as a means of making quick and easy money. This study was conducted to find out the public perception of drug use and abuse among youths.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The abuse of drugs constitutes one of the most important risk taking behaviour among adolescents and young adults in the country. Despite worldwide concern and education about psychoactive substances, self-medication and misuse of illicit drugs, many adolescents have limited awareness of their adverse consequence.

Drug use is as old as the history of human race people have used herbs, roots, barks, leaves and all kinds of plant to relieve pain and help control disease. When drugs are properly administered, they become a blessing to human beings. It should, however, be noted that some drugs unfortunately produce enticing side effects such as a sense of feeling good, elation serenity and power such that what began as means of relaxation evolved in time into a problem of dependence and abuse. (Karechrio,1996). Drug can be defined as a substance that is purposely introduced into the body to change normal body functions. Drug abuse explains the persistent excessive use of chemicals or substance for any reason other than its acceptable medical purpose. The influence of drugs is on the youths behavior has been documented. Kaire (2005), noted that drug abuse have been identified as a major cause of unrest in public secondary school leading to poor performance in exams and mass drop outs of youths from secondary Tabifor (2000), explains that drug addiction creates an enabling environment for violence as it gives the abuser a false sense of greatness and power. Curiosity, social pressure and peer group influence are reported to be primary reasons for substance misuse. Most often the student of public secondary starts by experimenting with the so called “GATEWAYDRUGS” such as tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. Drug abuse also refers to the use of usually self administration or any drug in a manner that deviate from approved medical; pattern or with a given culture, in which cause the use of medically prescribed drugs such as barbiturate to induce Dulphoria in social situation would be abuse on drugs. Drugs mainly abused as stimulant like Amphamine sedative and tranquilizers like Barbiturates, Valium and MandraseHauvelnogens. These drugs do not only have mild altering capacity but they may often be harmful.

The world drug report (2011), reports that a total 0f 190 million people consume drugs and alcohol world wide and the majority of these are youths. al, 1991 observes that alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are the most common consumed substances by the adolescent (boys and girls) across the globe. Njuki (2004), maintains that there are many issues confronting Africa such as drug abuse which is not looked at with the seriousness it deserves. He observed that illicit drug-trafficking and drug abuse are increasing in Africa. Cannabis, methaqualone, heroin and alcohol are included among drugs used across the continent of Africa, Moreover, the injection of heroin has caused heightened concern as intravenous drug use assists in the continued spread of HIV/AIDS (Njuki , 2004). Ministry of Education (1996), made strategies in order to promote the boy’s and girls health ad their well being. They introduced regular health check in all .and the prevention of drugs and alcohol use In its institution. Further, the ministry of Education has established guidance and counseling departments in .which deal with cases of guiding and counseling the learners when they fail victims of unwanted behaviours (Ministry of Education, 1996).
In Nigeria, earlier studies on youths drug use were largely hospital based and confined to selected regions of the country however, in the past10 – 15 years such studies have taken the form of field work employing epidemiology techniques so as to provide more comprehensive information related to types, pattern of use and psycho-social correlates in drug use and abuse among secondary school youths. From such studies it has been consistently found the alcohol, hypo-sedatives, tobacco and psycho stimulants were the commonly abused substances with varying prevalence rates found for both overall and specific drug use.

For instance in Ilorin, Nigeria, the lifetime prevalence rate if drug use among secondary youths was found to vary between 1.5% (for tobacco and 57% for psycho stimulants). In Sokoto, the reported prevalence rates were 10.9% – 17.8% among secondary school youths and 19.5% – 50.7%. some authors in the country have raised the possibility of youths under reporting their substance use habits, most especially the illicit ones for instance in a study in south west, Nigeria it was observed that although cannabis related psychiatric disorders are common among youths in Nigeria psychiatric clinics, substance use studies in the country have reported low use of cannabis amongst secondary school youths. This could be due to denial because of legal consequence associated with its use.
Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria remains about the most populous city in the country and since the work of anyone over 3 decades ago, changes that could increase the risk of substance use among school youths have occurred these include a surge in population, increased numbers of street youths (mostly secondary school drop outs) popularly known as “area boys” and an attendant high crime rate. However, despite these persistent psychosocial problems in Lagos, there is a paucity of current literature available on drug use among secondary school youths in the city.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nigeria has a quick growing population made up of youths. These young men and women forms the workforce of the nation and are paraded as its future leaders. Youths in Nigeria are constantly increasing knowledge and these knowledge is either good or bad. However, the wrong knowledge can circulate faster than the right knowledge in the economy. Drug abuse has been on the frontline on the list of wrong knowledge acquired by these young men and women. Drug abuse does not negatively affect the abuser only but it paints a negative image of the country both on the local and international parlance. It is on this premise that the researcher has undertaken this study to understand the public perception of drug abuse among youths.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study has the following objectives as its focus of its study:

  1. To ascertain the effects of drug abuse on the youths.
  2. To determine the public perception of drug abuse.
  3. To recommend ways to curb the wrong use of drugs.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses are formulated for this study:

H01: Drug abuse does not have effect on the youths.

H02: There is a wrong perception of drug use among youths.

H03: Drug abuse among the youths can be controlled to produce a youth-effective society.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will help create awareness on the abuse of drugs among youths and its negative effects. The study will also contribute to the lots of literature on drug abuse in the country.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study encapsulates the public perception of drug abuse among youths. It highlights what people think about drug and goes ahead to point out the

1.7 Definitions of Terms


Refers to a substance rather than food that is purposely introduced into the body to change normal body function.

Drug Abuse:

Persistent excessive use of chemical or substance for any reason other than its acceptable medical purpose

Guidance and Counseling:

The process used by guidance and counseling teaches to help youths avoid evils like drug abuse and live responsible life.

Illegal Drugs:

Any drug that the government considers harmful to the mental and physical health of the society the use of such a drug is forbidden by law, these include bhang, heroine, cocaine etc.

Legal Drugs:

Refers to any drugs that is potentially dangerous but is not against the law to consume and distribute them.

Peer Pressure:

This is the demand to confirm to the values and standards of the peer (classmates, age mates).


Frequency at which the drugs are used in the sample.

Preventive Approaches:

Refers to guidance and counseling programmes put in place by the counseling department to create drug awareness about the disadvantages of drug abuse so as to discourage student from indulging on drug abuse and this reduce occurrence of student behavior.

Preventive Education:

The deliberate use of educational procedures with the purpose of tackling the issue of drug abuse and its negative effects.

Risk Taking:

Engaging in behavior that endangers the health or life of a student.

1.8 Organization of the study

The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to reiterate that the objective of this study was to examine the public perception of drug abuse among youths.

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 from the assessment of the public perception of drug abuse among youths.

5.2 Summary

Drug abuse has been identified as one of the major instigators of crime in our society. Drug abuse is not just a national problem but it’s an international cross borne by virtually all economies of the world with varying degrees of acquisition, use and abuse of drugs. It has been observed also that drug abuse significantly affects the youths and paints the economy bad in terms of international parlance. It is therefore necessary that caution be taken in terms of the way and manner these drugs get into the hands of the youths.

5.3 Conclusion

Drug abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a self-destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to significant problems and distress. Looking at the information gathered from various literatures, one can observed that drug abuse is not caused by a single factor alone, as expressed by many writers. It is caused by the interplay of at least two or more factors. Drug abuse has not only becomes a universal, social and psychological problem but also emerged that the pattern of drug abuse have almost completely changed sharp and have taken a dimensional model of behaviour sales and consumption (abuse) of drug like marijuana, vellum, vanillin syrup and tremolos are conducted openly in all the states, local governments villages inclusive especially during electioneering campaign, politicians used to buy drugs or given substantial amount to buy and consumed drugs by youths. Furthermore, uncontrolled drugs abuse its effect are accompanied by violence, crime, misbehaviour and hence a threat to society at large. Drug abuse is injurious to the health of the user, as result has a lot of social and psychological problems.

5.4 Recommendation

Nigerian Government also has a big role to play in prevention of drug abuse which they are playing already through NDLEA (National Drug Law Enforcement Agency) and other drug controlling groups like NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Abuse Control).

Furthermore, the government should have a well- defined comprehensive and realistic policy on control of drugs. This policy should include establishing a federal drug control centre, under the auspices of the ministries of health and internal affairs, which will collate information on drug use, and liaise with similar smaller units, to be based in each state. Public education should be targeted at the vulnerable segment of society, such as the older children, adolescent and young adults. Such educational measures should be carefully presented through methods that avoid threats and dramatization. Through open campaign rallies in public places like motor parks, NYSC camps, Universities, and other institutions of higher learning Mosques and Churches inclusive. Because these are places where there is high concentration of youth; introduce the campaign against the abuse of drugs into secondary schools curriculum.

Lastly, any realistic attempt aimed at dealing with the issue of drug abuse must enjoy adequate multidisciplinary deliberation. Any law, which is designed to control drug abuse behaviour, must embrace suggestions from the country’s relevant professional bodies such as psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, youth and welfare officers, counsellors, educationists, ministry of health officials and law enforcement agents.

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