The Impact of Drug Abuse among Secondary School Students
1.1 Background to the Study
Drug is a substance that affects the function of living cells, used in medicine to diagnose, cure, prevent the occurrence of diseases and disorders, and prolong the life of patients with incurable conditions. It can also be said to be any substance taken by some people to get certain effect, such as happiness and excitement. Deriving from these definitions above, drugs can be classified into two categories:
(1) the soft Drug e.g. antibiotics and analgesics, and; (2) the hard drugs e.g. cocaine, marijuana heroin etc. Recently, many teenagers indulge in the second categories of drug (the hard drugs). This encourages drug addiction (drug dependents), hence drug abuse (Aldridge, 2012).
According to Gorman, (2011), drug abuse is the excessive, maladaptive, or addictive use of drugs for non-medicinal purposes. It also defines a state, emotional and sometimes physical, characterized by a compulsion to take drugs on a constant basis in order to experience its mental effects. Drug abuse gives rise to dependence both physical and psychological. Dependence gives rise to mental, emotional, biological or physical, social and economic instability.
The effects of drug abuse on an individual therefore form the basis for its cumulative effects on the society. Drug abuse is characterized by taking more than the recommended dose of prescribed drugs such as barbiturates without medical supervision, or using government-controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other illegal substances. Legal substances, such as alcohol and nicotine, are also abused by many people. Abuse of drugs and other substances can lead to physical and psychological dependence (Margolis, 2010).
NAFDAC (2010) as cited by Haladu (2013) explained the term drug abuse as excessive and persistent self-administration of a drug without regard to the medically or culturally accepted patterns. It could also be viewed as the use of a drug to the extent that it interferes with the health and social function of an individual. Several types of drugs are susceptible to abuse by youths. These drugs range from most common and less expensive such as cigarettes and alcohol to expensive and more deadly such as cocaine and heroin.
James, (2010) explains the following as types of drugs that are commonly abuse by youths: Cigarettes – these are drugs easily available to youth. They are classified as drugs because the contain nicotine and it has physical and psychological effects on the body. Alcohol – Beer, wine, brandy and spirits are in the drug category mainly because of their chemical contents and potential for addiction. Alcohol has a toxic and sedative effect on the body and is available without prescription.
It is a central nervous system depressant and its consumption can cause a number of marked changes in behaviour. Caffeine – is usually abuse through the excessive chewing of cola-nut or concentrated coffee. Caffeine is also the active ingredient of coffee, tea and some bottled beverages. Marijuana – Also popularly called Indian hemp, is a drug that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which determines its potency varying from 0.2% to 20%. It is a hallucinogenic stimulant, and is usually produced locally.
Hydrocarbons – Glue, gasoline, cleaning solutions, varnish, paint thinners, nail polish remover, and lighter fluids, all distilled from petroleum and natural gas, belong to the class of hydrocarbons. They are usually inhaled or sniffed. Cocaine – Cocaine is one of the most potent stimulants of natural origin. It is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant grown in the Andean highlands of South America. The drug is usually administrated by snorting (i.e. to make a harsh sound by forcing air through the nostrils) through the nasal passages.
Crack – This is a street name for chemical derivatives of cocaine in hard, crystalline lumps. It is heated and inhaled as a stimulant. Youth usually go for this because it is less expensive than cocaine. Heroin: Heroin was first synthesized from morphine with a bitter taste. Illicit heroin may vary in both form and color, from white to dark brown. Heroin is about three times more potent than morphine (an alkaloid drug that may become addictive with prolonged use), and it is readily available in Nigeria.
The Impact of Drug Abuse among Secondary School Students
As posited by Sifton, (2008), drug abuse can cause a wide variety of adverse physical reactions. Long-term drug use may damage the heart, liver, and brain. Drug abusers may suffer from malnutrition if they habitually forget to eat, cannot afford to buy food, or eat foods lacking the proper vitamins and minerals.
Individuals who abuse injectable drugs risk contracting infections such as hepatitis and HIV from dirty needles or needles shared with other infected abusers. One of the most dangerous effects of illegal drug use is the potential for overdosing, that is, taking too large or too strong a dose for the body’s systems to handle. A drug overdose may cause an individual to lose consciousness and to breathe inadequately. Without treatment, an individual may die from a drug overdose.
It is important to reiterate the dangers of drug abuse in general and to youth involved in it. Without treatment, the effects of drug abuse on teens can lead to serious consequences now and later in adulthood.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Drug abuse is a major public health problem all over the world. The use and abuse of drugs by youths have become one of the most disturbing health related phenomena in Nigeria and other parts of the world (NDLEA, 2013).
The illegal use of drugs was once considered a problem unique to residents of poor, urban neighborhoods. Some people use drugs to relieve stress and to forget about their problems. Several school going youths experience mental health problem, either temporarily or for a long period of time. Some become insane, maladjusted to school situations and eventually drop out of school.
With these reasons, the researcher decided to base his study on the causes, effects and preventive measures of some commonly abuse drugs among youths in the study area.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study aims at the following objectives:
- To identify the causes of drugs abuse among secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area.
- To examine the social implication of drug abuse among secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini, and;
- To determine the health implication of drug abuse among secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the causes of drugs abuse among secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area?
- What are the social implications of drug abuse among secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area?
- What are the health implications of drug abuse among secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study will be of great importance to the secondary school children in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area by creating awareness on the effects of drug abuse. It will go a long way to help parents to know some commonly abused drugs and how they can help their children to abstain from drug abuse.
It will also educate members of the public on measures to be taken to curb the menace of drug abuse. It will also help health workers to develop health talk for the prevention and control of drugs abuse among secondary school children in Ini Local Government Area.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The research study was carried out in Mbiakpa Ibakesi, Ini Local Government Area to assess the level of drug abuse and it implication among secondary school children aged 15-29 years.