Effects of Drug Abuse Among University Undergraduates in Nigeria
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
This research work is on the effects of Drug Abuse among University undergraduates in Nigeria. It appears that not only does the use of drugs create problems but rather their misuse. In other words, the widespread use of drugs has not only turned our attention to the dynamics of drug use and its determinants but also made it necessary to weigh the impact of this process on social institutions and social change in future generations.
Drug abuse according to Laver (1978) simply means the improper use of drugs to the degree that the consequences are defined as detrimental to the user and or the society. The World Health Organization (WHO (2006) also defined drug abuse as a “state” of periodic or chronic intoxication, detrimental to the individual and the society, produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic).
Drug abuse patterns include all aspects of drug usage by the youths ranging from how much, how often and what sort of drugs, where who, with, what circumstances and so on. The analysis of the contemporary social problem has consistently proved more and more controversial because of the variables involved in their analysis, with the incidence of drug abuse, being of utmost concern to the abuser himself, his family, the government and the entire society in which he lives. This situation seems to have caused a lot of embarrassment to the government including most especially the damage done to the image of Nigerians abroad. Customs officials in the United States of America and indeed the entire Nations of Europe subject the people of Nigeria travelling to their countries to more thorough and embarrassing checks. This type of degrading and humiliating examination of Nigerians according to them is because they want to crack down on smugglers of which Nigerians are the chief suspects due to the hard drug trafficking posture exhibited by some greedy Nigerians.
Furthermore, Nigerian societies have defined some drugs as acceptable while others as not acceptable without reference to their effects on the mental and physical wellbeing of t the of the users, for example, society considers the use of alcohol and nicotine as acceptable, hence those of them who take these drugs do so freely in public without fear of arrest or social stigma.
To society as a whole, crime, promiscuity, armed robbery and other vices are all linked to drug abuse. Therefore this study is motivated by the controversy that surrounds the effect of drug abuse among university undergraduates in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Drug abuse in Nigeria in the contemporary time has become one issue that cast a gloomy shadow on the entire Nigerian society especially among University undergraduates. The height of drug trafficking in Nigeria was witnessed in 1985 under the military regime. During this period, it was mostly the University undergraduates that were caught and the first to be executed for drug offences under the “special tribunal (Miscellaneous Offences) Decree No. 20 of 1984. However, the abuse of drugs is not only limited to the University undergraduates as an alien phenomenon is to distort its significance.
Nevertheless, the usage of drugs either by University undergraduates or other members of the larger society in all its ramifications appears to be a social problem. This problem is widely spread and it affects all and sundry. In other words, this widespread use and abuse entice people from all walks of life and beyond the human destruction caused by drug dependence is the damage to traditional values and lifestyles. Studies have also shown that drug abuse wrecks individual, shatter families and weakens entire society with its burden of economic looses, health cost and increased lawlessness and crime.
Also, drugs seem to undermine the ability of University undergraduates to learn. The drug also appears to contradict our values of physical wellbeing. People experiment with drugs because they seem to hold the promise of fulfilment. But the fulfilment is generally elusive, greater and greater quantities are consumed and ultimately the person suffers both physical and psychological deterioration. The drug abuser also experiences problems of interaction and this interactional problem is encountered both inside his immediate family and stress invariably is created in the family situation of drug abuse (Hoffman, 1990).
To add to this, drug abuse may entail a lot of social problems ranging from lateness to lectures, family neglect, deviance behaviour, involvement in crime etc (Earl 2000). In terms of economic cost, it includes the more money required to deal with the undesirable effects of drug abuse, the less money for services and programmes that enhances the quality of life (Earl 2000).
One of the factors militating against the eradication of drug abuse among our University undergraduates is that our security agencies, such as the police force, National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies among others have not done enough to check this scourge. Another factor militating against the eradication of drug abuse among Nigerian University undergraduates is the problem of corruption among the men and officials of these aforementioned agencies.
To this end and judging from the problems outlined earlier, this research aims at ascertaining the effect of drug abuse among university undergraduates in Nigeria using the University of Calabar, Cross River State as a study area.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide the study.
1. What are the common drugs likely to be abused by undergraduate students in contemporary Nigeria society?
2. What are the major reasons accountable for the engagement of undergraduate students in drug abuse in Nigeria?
3. What are the likely implications for undergraduate‟s involvement in drug abuse?
4. What are the measures that can be used to eradicate drug abuse among University undergraduates in Nigeria?
1.4 MAJOR OBJECTIVES
To determine the effect of drugs abused by undergraduates in Nigeria;
1. To find out the drugs that are commonly abused by undergraduate students in Nigeria.
2. To find out the implications for undergraduates involvement in drug abuse.
3. identify this study also aims at looking at some of the measures aimed at eradicating the drug abuse problem among University undergraduates in Nigeria.
4. To ascertain the reasons why drugs are been abused by University undergraduates in Nigeria.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is a great need for this study as it entails what the result for the findings would be used for.
The results of the study should help in creating awareness in the society on the general effects of drug abuse on their health most especially the University undergraduates. It will make the youths realize that excessive or even small intake of this item (drugs) has inhibitory effects on their brain.
The result of this study will be used in making the consumers have a second thought before partaking in the act. This will go a long way in modelling their behaviour which the general awareness has created.
The study will go a long way in reducing the numerous health problems encountered as a result of the misuse of drugs or the intake of hard drugs. The study will also help young researchers or writers to solve some problems of drug abuse, thereby ensuring good health of the University undergraduates or youths in general and social harmony in the society.
Finally, all the social ills in society as a result of the effects of drug abuse among the University undergraduates in Nigeria will be drastically minimized.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
(a) Drug: A drug is a chemical substance capable of altering the physical and psychological function of the body.
(b) Abuse: This means the misuse of something. It can also be described as the illegal use of something.
(c) Drug Abuse: This is the misuse of drugs. It could be defined as the illegal use of a substance that interferes with human behaviour.
(d) Effects: This could be defined as consequences. It is also the power to produce results.
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