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1.1 Background to the Study

According to the World Drug Report (2005), the use of illicit drugs has increased throughout the world in recent years. The report further states that a major world trend is the increasing availability of many kinds of drugs to an ever widening socioeconomic spectrum of consumers. The report argues that the main problem drugs at global level continue to be opiates (notably heroine) followed by cocaine. For example, for most of Europe and Asia, opiates continued to be the main problem drugs, accounting for 62 percent of all treatment in 2003. Reports from a total of 95 countries indicated that drug seizures increased four-fold in 2003, and more than half of these were of cannabis.

Every country in the world, developed or developing, incurs substantial costs as a result of damages caused by substance abuse (World Drug Report, 2005). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.1 billion people, representing a third of the world population above the age of 15 years, use tobacco, principally in the form of the cigarettes. Of the 800 million smokers, 700 million of them are males in developing countries (WHO, 2004). While smoking rates have been declining in the developed world, they have increased in the developing countries by as much as 50 percent, especially in Asia and in the Pacific region, over the last decade. Addiction to tobacco is therefore a major problem in the developing countries. According to the same report, tobacco Sources four million deaths annually, not including prenatal morbidity and mortality. This figure is projected to rise to 1.6 million by the year 2025, 70 percent of which will occur in the developing world if current trends continue (INCB, 2003).

According to the African Union Ministerial Conference on Drug Control in Africa report (2004), at least 16 countries in Africa have reported abuse of opiates, with prevalence rates ranging from 0.01 to 0.8 percent for the population aged 15 and above. Twelve countries reported cocaine abuse with prevalence ranging from 0.01 to 1.1 percent for this age bracket. Concurrently, the age of those initiated to drug use is diminishing with large numbers of in-school and out-of-school youth consuming drugs. This phenomenon is even more acute in conflict and post conflict countries, with populations experiencing high stress levels while child soldiers are provided with drugs to enable them to fight.

All the while, Africa’s role in the global drugs supply chain is increasing. Already the continent is the second largest region for cannabis production, trafficking and consumption, accounting for 26 percent of global seizures of this drug in 2001 (UNODC, 2004). By country, the largest hauls in this period were in Nigeria, Nigeria, and the Republic of South Africa, while Morocco is said to be one of the main producers of Cannabis resin.

Findings from a National Survey on Alcohol and Drug Abuse conducted by NACADA in 2012 shows that 13.3% of Nigerians are currently using alcohol, 9.1% tobacco, 4.2% miraa, 1.0% bhang and 0.1% heroin. Overall, bhang is the most easily available illicit drug in the country at 49% followed by cocaine while heroin is the least available illicit drug in the country. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the country and poses the greatest harm to Nigerians as evidenced by the numerous calamities associated with excessive consumption and adulteration of illicit brews. This study was therefore carried out in order to examine the dangers of illicit use of hard drugs among secondary school students.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Drug use is a worldwide phenomenon, and drug use occurs in almost every country. The specific drug or drugs used varies from country to country and from region to region. Worldwide, the three main drugs of use are cannabis (such as marijuana), opiates (such as heroin), and cocaine. Although individual countries have their own drug laws, in general, drug possession, sale, and use are illegal. Unfortunately, laws are not always equally enforced in countries around the world.

Drug abuse [especially among the youth and young adults] is responsible for lost wages, destruction of property in schools, soaring health care costs and broken families. It is a problem which affects us all as parents, children, teachers, government officials, taxpayers and workers. Despite eradication efforts in countries in Africa, the region still remains a major supplier of some drugs such as cannabis, which is one of the most widely abused drugs. Since the early nineteen eighties, Africa has been experiencing an escalating problem with drug abuse and trafficking. Although reliable information is scarce, data collected under the Eastern Africa Drug Information System/Global Assessment Programme (EADIS/GAP), country mission reports coupled and small-scaled research activities conducted by governments and nongovernmental organizations all attest to this (Abdool, 2004).

According to World Drug report (2012), the extent of global illicit drug use over the five years up to and including 2010, is at between 3.4 and 6.6 per cent of the adult population (persons aged 15-64). However, some 10-13 per cent of drug users continue to be problem users with drug dependence and/or drug-use disorders, the prevalence of HIV (estimated at approximately 20 per cent), hepatitis C (46.7 per cent) and hepatitis B (14.6 per cent) among injecting drug users continues to add to the global burden of disease, and, last but not least, approximately 1 in every 100 deaths among adults is attributed to illicit drug use. With estimated annual prevalence ranging from 0.6 to 0.8 per cent of the population aged 15-64, the use of opioids (mainly heroin, morphine and non-medical use of prescription opioids) is stable in all of the main markets. Worrisome is that drug consumption has developed some key characteristics over the last few decades, against a backdrop of rapid socioeconomic transitions in a number of countries. Illicit drug use is now characterized by a concentration among youth. Global estimates suggest that prevalence of tobacco use (25 per cent of the population aged 15 and above).

The above evidence show an increase of drug abuse by young Nigerians. Psychologically it can be argued that young Nigerians who are of school age have acquired a taste for illicit drug which is in itself a worrying trend. In other words it can be said that young Nigerians have been and are being socialized into drugs. It is in this background that this study sought to find out the extent to which drugs are being abused in schools and the level of confidence there is among young Nigerians in school in engaging in drug abuse.

1.3 Research Questions

The specific research questions for this study are:

  1. Is drug abuse affecting the academic program of the students in secondary schools?

  2. Which drugs are commonly abused by the students?

  3. How confident are students in abusing drugs?

1.4 Objectives of the study
1.4.1 Main Objective

The main objective of this study is to find out danger of illicit use of hard drugs among secondary school students in Gwagwalada, Abuja.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

  1. To identify the commonly used drugs among the secondary schools students.

  2. To find out the sources of the commonly abused substances and their influence on academic performance.

  3. To establish the extent of substance abuse.

  4. To analyze the level of self-efficacy among these students.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The proposed study could help the Ministry of Education (M.O.E.) to better understand the current situation and accordingly make changes to address the factors that contribute to substance abuse in secondary schools. Nigeria, like many other developing countries, is faced with the social problem of high rates of substance abuse. To make matters worse, the percentage of substance abusers in schools increases yearly despite the efforts to eradicate the problem. Failure to solve this problem not only threatens the life of individuals, but also the economic and social development of the country as a whole. The current study is useful in contributing to the general body of knowledge in this area. Beyond that, however, it also explores the potential of schools to curb the drug problem.

The study should help to make policy makers, administrators and teachers aware of the factors hindering the effectiveness of the approaches which attempt to curb drug abuse and, where possible, create opportunities to eradicate the problem. The proposed programme would be useful in educating all Nigerians, youth and adults, on the risks of substance consumption. Thus, this study would play an important role in reducing, or even preventing high rates of substance use and abuse. Based on the findings, recommendations are made. If followed, these recommendations would be useful to administrators and policy makers in curbing substance abuse in schools through improving existing educational programmes, and striving to develop ones that are even more efficient. The study would also help in promoting a drug-free school environment and better academic performance, thus improving the standards of education in the country. In the absence of specific policies on substance abuse in schools this study makes important recommendations on the way forward.

1.6 Scope and limitation of the study

This study examined the dangers of illicit use of hard drugs among secondary school students. This study also focused on secondary school students in Gwagwalada, Abuja.

In considering the extent of substance abuse the study relied heavily on secondary data in the schools with focus on the frequency of drugs abused as captured by the records which these schools have. The study also analyzed the level of self-efficacy among these students by the aid of the interview schedule questions by the use of self-efficacy scale and an opinion scale which was used to capture the students’ general opinion on drugs.

1.7 Definition of Key Words

Drug: Any product other than food or water that affects the way people feel, think, see, and behave. It is a substance that due to its chemical nature affects physical, mental and emotional functioning.

Drug abuse: Use of drugs for purposes other than medical reasons. It refers to misuse of any psychotropic substances resulting in changes in bodily functions, thus affecting the individual in a negative way socially, cognitively or physically.

Drug addiction: Addiction to drugs or alcohol means that a person’s body can no longer function without these substances. The addictive substances usually have negative effects, for example, they can alter mental state and behaviour to a point where the individual becomes a threat to himself and others. Once a person becomes addicted, it is hard to stop using drugs.

Drug related problems: This term is used to describe all negative effects associated with drug abuse such as violence, conflicts with friends or school authorities, destruction of school property and academic underperformance.

Drug policy: A brief statement outlining a school stand or position on procedures for dealing with drug-related issues. It may be reflected in the school rules and guidelines, and is also often a reflection of the laws of Nigeria.

Illegal/legal drugs: In this study illegal drugs refer to the substances that the government regards as harmful to the mental and physical well-being of the individual, hence controlling or discouraging their consumption by law. Legal drugs refer to those such as alcohol and tobacco that are potentially dangerous but whose consumption the government allows.

Strategies: This term refers to the methods or approaches that schools have put in place to address drug related problems in the institutions. They are also measures that have been put in place by the Nigerian schools with the aim of curbing drug abuse and controlling its negative effects.

Substance abuse: Refers to the use of all chemicals, drugs and industrial solvents that produce dependence (psychological and physical) in a percentage of individuals who take them. It can also be used to refer to repeated non-medical use of potentially additive chemical and organic substances.

Youth: Refers to young people between 13 and 25 years or their activities and their characteristics. The majority of students in Nigerian secondary schools are between 13 and 19 years, a stage referred to as adolescence. The term youth therefore includes this age bracket of students.

1.8 Organization of Study

The study is organized 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.

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