Background of the Study

Over the past two decades, the use of illegal drugs and misuse of therapeutic drugs have spread at an unprecedented rate and have penetrated every part of the globe. No nation has been spared from the devastating problem caused by drug abuse. Global increases in problems of illicit drugs both reflect and contribute to international tensions. The origins of some of these tensions are clear: rapid changes in political alignment, reduced family and community cohesiveness, increased unemployment and underemployment, economic and social marginalization and increased crime. The impact of drug abuse on youth, especially those in secondary has remained a source of worry to parents, schools, religious bodies, society and even the government because of the attendant misbehaviours that usually follow it have negative effect on the society and educational advancement cum achievement of the students. It seems to be the source one of the country’s major health challenge as well as social problems.

At a time when dramatic improvements are taking place in some sectors, e.g. communications and technology, improvement of the quality of life for many people has fallen far short of the potential that exists and the rising expectation of people who know life can be better. The global changes which have allowed Adolescents prefer an autonomous and independent life that is free from adult control, there by engaging in various delinquent acts (drug abuse, rape, robbery, cultism and vandalism) that are dangerous to the home, community, school and the nation. The impact of drug abuse among adolescents has been a stigma of moral decadence, violence, thugery, assault, madness and murder.

The menace of drug abuse has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society; however, with effective counselling programmes, the problems can be tackled through campaign against drug abuse by government and other relevant authorities Drug control counselling centres should be established in every community and qualified health counsellors should be employed in helping drug addicts by giving them special advice on how to go about the withdrawal system. Drug awareness units to be set up in all states by the federal, state and local government not to try people who use drugs as criminals, but to help solve their socio psychological problem.


Drug abuse is a serious public health problem that affects almost every community and family in some ways, and most rampant among adolescent in secondary and colleges in Nigeria. Each year, drug abuse causes millions of serious illness and injuries.

The rampant use of drugs like marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and many more  among youths is a serious issue that has become a tragedy, drawing the  attention and concern of the entire nation. This problem made the then Military Government of Nigeria to  promulgate a Decree No 48 of the 1989, which established the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). Some Nigerian Dailies in the 1970s carried the news of Nigerian Secondary School Students’ involvement in drug abuse. For instance, (August 5, 1973:7) and (October 10, 1974) both carried the reports. Since then, pages of newspapers, the television, the radio, magazines and journals have been “littered” with the reports of one form of drug abuse or the other.

The abuse of drugs, which was originally conceived as the problems of a few  individuals, is today becoming a disease of a sizeable proportion of our citizens, (Folawiyo, 2008). He also added that, the problem is so grave that it has extended beyond the usual characteristic profile of abusers being male, adult and urban-based to now include females, youngsters and those who live in towns and rural areas.

Essen (1990) observed that the increasing incidence of drug abuse among Secondary School Students is a contributory factor in the ugly confrontation between school administrators and students. The chronic use of these drug substances can cause serious, sometimes irreversible damage to adolescent’s physical and psychological development (Falco, 2008). In another development, he further emphasized that adolescent drug abuse is closely correlated with other problems behaviors like delinquency, violence and early-unwanted pregnancies. Drug abuse constitutes a major threat to the survival and effective learning process of human societies. Lives are daily lost through addiction and activities of addicts. A significant number of deaths from accidents and violent crimes have been traced to the activities of persons under the influence of drugs (Folawiyo, 2008). Treatment facilities nation-wide are now gradually being over-burdened with drug related problems.

Orubu (2013) warned that young people are ruining their lives through drug use as Nigeria took the third position among the developing countries in its use of dangerous drugs. On this note, Orubu (2013) made a clarion call on the Nigerian Government to embark on a vigorous campaign to enlighten its youth and general populace on the dangers of drug abuse. It is therefore not surprising to hear outcries in the media by parents, educators over issues of moral decadence and indiscipline among most youths in Primary, Post Primary, Polytechnic and Universities in Nigeria. In fact, the strong public demands in Nigeria for effective action to combat drugs may provide the means to develop a more concerted, comprehensive and truly nation-wide effort to reduce the plague of not only drug abuse but also the related problem behavior of many adolescents.

Illicit drug use which includes the abuse of illegal drugs and /or the misuse of prescription medications or household substances is something many adolescents engage in occasionally and a  few do regularly. By the twelfth grade, about half of adolescent have abused an illicit drug at least once Johnson et al. (2012). They went further to say  that most commonly used drug is marijuana but adolescents can find many abused substances, such as prescription medications, glues, and aerosol, in the home. More adolescents drink alcohol than smoke cigarettes or use marijuana.

Depression is something that many teenager deal with during their lives. Some of them isolate themselves from their families by going into their rooms, staying out late, not eating and a bad grade or because of an argument with parents or friends, they intend to use drugs than normal in an attempt to ease their dress. Emotional and psychological problems such as loneliness, depression, fear and insecurities affects the adolescent’s substance use (en.wikepedia.rg.2014.)

Drugs are substances which when introduced into the body will alter the normal biological and psychological functioning of the body, especially the central nervous system (Escandon & Galvez, 2006). The term ‘drug’ in a general sense includes all substances that can alter brain functions and create dependence. UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (2006) defines drug abuse as the self-administration of any drug in a manner that diverts from approved medical or social patterns within a given culture. Legal or licit drugs and substances are socially accepted and their use does not constitute any criminal offence. In Nigeria, these include alcohol and nicotine. Drug abuse among students is dominated by the use of these legal drugs and substances. Among the illegal drugs commonly used by students are cannabis, ecstasy, heroine, mandrax and lysergic acid diethylamide (NAFDAC, 2004). Prescription and over the counter drugs are abused when taken without the specified medical condition and/or proper prescription. Some of these drugs can be mood elevators, pain killers or antidepressants. Prescription drugs include pain killers with codeine, phenorbaritone, valium, piriton and sleep control drugs. A study by Rew (2005) found that these psychoactive substances can produce feelings of surplus energy, euphoria, stimulation, depression, relaxation, hallucinations, a temporary feeling of well being, drowsiness and sleepiness. Their misuse often leads to physical or physiological addiction

The effect of drug abuse on the economy of the nation, is so devastating that annual retail cost of psychotropic substances by prescription is over two billion Naira while the alcoholic beverages annually generate more than, four billion Naira from sales to a consumer population of about 30 to 35 million people (Folawiyo, 2008). Even in Canada in 1987, $150.0 million was devoted on advertising alcohol but only $13.5 was spent on advertising for coffee, a beverage though with high caffeine content. Bungudu (1988) observed that all categories of people take drugs in order to feel better in the course of discharging their day to day activities and due to the situation they might have found themselves. In a similar way, (Ahmed, 1984:2,6) pointed out that there  are some groups of people who are likely to abuse drugs apart from students. These are

prostitutes, homosexuals, farmers, laborers, manual workers, assorted group of beggars, professional lorry drivers, night watchmen. However, he concluded that more than 60%cases of drug abuse are within the age of (15 – 30) years, and that the problem cut across all social classes though young people constitutes the significant majority of the victims.

The social implications of drug abuse on the Nigerian youthful population are catastrophic for the future. Notably, environment is known to contribute a great deal to the cause of drug abuse especially in homes where parents drink alcohol freely. In such homes’ there is a likely incidence of alcoholism among the off springs of such parents. There are other reasons that influence people to take drugs, they include peer group, physical illness, psychiatric problems, etc. In response to this distress, quite a number of Nigerians faced firing squad during Buhari/Idiagbon’s regime under Degree 20 (News watch), May 13, 1985). Thanks to Decree 48 of 1989, which makes for jail term of (5) years for offenders. These problems have been of great concern not only to parents and teachers but also to all those who are concern with the proper upbringing of our children, hence the need to investigate into the problem arose.

Statement of the problem

The attitude of adolescent towards drug abuse in the Secondary School has attracted the attention of many people who are concern with the educational standard of our students and their achievement, Time without number both teachers and parents are complaining bitterly about students involvement in drug abuse and their  attitude to learning. Inspite of all the efforts made by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to reduce the problem of drug abuse that may affect so many aspects of adolescent life the problem still persist particularly among adolescent in Ikwerre  Local Government Area. As a teacher of secondary school students who deal with adolescents who are vulnerable to these problems, I become interested in carrying out the research on the   cause  of drug abuse among  secondary school students in Ikwerre  Local Government Area area with the hope of finding solutions to the problem at hand.

Purpose of the Study

The major objective of this study is to investigate the causes  and effect of drug abuse in secondary schools in Ikwerre   Local Government Area of River State   are as follows:


  1. To find out the causes of drug abuse among secondary school studets in Ikwerre local government area
  2. To determine the pattern secondary school students used in abusing drugs in Ikwerre local government area
  • To determine the attitude of secondary school students towards drug abuse
  1. To determine how drug abuse can be combated in Ikwerre local government area
  2. To determine the influence of drug use and abuse on the students

Research Questions

  1. What are the causes of drug abuse among secondary school students in Ikwerre Local government
  2. What are the pattern does secondary school students abuse drug in River State
  • What are the attitude of in schools adolescent towards drug abuse
  1. What are the ways drug abuse can be combat in River State


Significance of the Study

The study of pattern and prevalence of drug abuse among adolescent in secondary school are significant in the following areas:

  1. It assist in educating the people about their health and possible effects of self medication and the danger inherent in such practice.
  2. It will also help the masses to learn about the activities of drug peddlers in our society.
  3. It makes people aware of the rate that drugs generally can be very dangerous and injurious to the health if proper dosage are not taken.
  4. The study will acquaint the government of the importance of health of the nation, thus securing the future able bodied people who will constitute a working population of tomorrow.
  5. The study will help to curb undesirable behaviours toward drug among adolescent in our society.

Research Hypothesis

          The following are the research hypothesis that will guide the study:

  1. There is no significant difference in the ways drugs can be abused among male students in secondary schools.
  2. Is there any significant difference in the ways drugs can be abused among male and female student in secondary schools.
  3. Is there any significant difference in the major sources and influence of drug used and abused on the adolescents.
  4. Is there any significant difference in the attitude of adolescents in school drug abuse.


Scope of the Study

This study will be spread all over  five secondary schools in Ikwerre   Area of River State  . It is the hope of the researcher that the study will serve as a useful guide and urge for future researches.

Definition of Terms

Drug: It is any product other than food or water that affect the way people feel, think, see and behave. It is a substance that due to it chemical nature, it affects the physical, mental and emotional functioning of the body. Drugs can enter the body through chewing, inhaling, smoking, drinking, rubbing on the skin or injection.

Drug Abuse: This is the use of drugs for non-medical purpose. Thus, drug abuse refers to the misuse of any psychoactive substance resulting in changes in the body functions, thus affecting the individual socially, cognitively and physically.

Drug Related Problems: This term is used to describe all the negative effects associated with drug abuse which includes:

  • Ill health
  • Violence
  • Conflicts with friends or school authorities
  • Academic underperformance.

Illegal and Legal Drugs: In this study illegal drugs refer to the substances that are harmful to the mental and physical wellbeing of the individual. Legal drugs refers to those drug that are used for medical prescription which when misuse or overdose can be term as drug abuse.

Intervention: Attempt to help drug users positively modify their behaviour and change their attitudes towards them is use of drugs is referred to as intervention. These can be activities and programmes put in place to address misuse or activity of drug abuse.

Psychoactive Substance: This refers to my substance that when taken can modify the following:

  • Perception
  • Mood
  • Cognition
  • Behaviour
  • Motor functions

Adolescent: Adolescent is any person that is going through the transitional period between childhood and adulthood, the age varies with cultural historical circumstances. Adolescent growth patterns are characterized with early and middle childhood which often come to abrupt end with the adolescent growth spurt which is the quantitative increase in height and weight. And it must be noted that the period of adolescent growth is a period of storm and stress which is characterized with contempt with authority such as the parent and school.





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Updated: August 13, 2019 — 2:57 pm

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