Students prefer an autonomous and independent life that is free from 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. This paper discusses the concept of drug abuse, types, theories of causes, signs and symptoms, effects, and strategies for combating it.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Since the early times, herbs, leaves and plants have been use to heal and control diseases. The use of drugs in itself does not constitute any danger, because drugs correctly administered have been a blessing. Falco (1988) as cited by Sambo (2008) viewed that “chronic use of substances can cause serious, sometimes irreversible damage to adolescent’s physical and psychological development. The use of drugs could be beneficial or harmful depending on the mode of use. A drug refers to a substance that could bring about a change in the biological function through its chemical actions (Okoye, 2001). It is also considered as a substance that modifies perceptions, cognition, mood, behaviour and general body functions (Balogun, 2006). They could thus, be considered as chemical modifiers of the living tissues that could bring about physiological and behavioural changes (Nnachi, 2007). Drug abuse is a major public health problem all over the world (UNODC) (2005). The use and abuse of drugs by adolescents have become one of the most disturbing health related phenomena in Nigeria and other parts of the world (NDLEA; 1997).Several school going adolescents experience mental health programme, either temporarily or for a long period of time. Some become insane, maladjusted to school situations and eventually drop out of school.
According to Fawa (2003), “Drug is defined as any substance, which is used for treatment or prevention of a disease in man and animals. Drug alters the body functions either positively or otherwise depending on the body composition of the user, the type of drug used, the amount used and whether used singly or with other drugs at the same time”. NAFDAC (2000) as cited by Haladu(2003) 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. World Book Encyclopedia (2004) defined drug abuse as the non-medical use of a drug that interferes with a healthy and productive life Manbe (2008) defined drug abuse as the excessive, maladaptive or addictive use of drugs for non-medical purpose.
Abdulahi (2009) viewed drug abuse as the use of drugs to the extent that interferes with the health and social function of an individual. In essence, drug abuse may be defined as the arbitrary overdependence or mis-use of one particular drug with or without a prior medical diagnosis from qualified health practitioners. It can also be viewed as the unlawful overdose in the use of drug(s). Odejide (2000) warned that drug abusers who exhibit symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, behaviour changes, fatigue and loss or increase in appetite should be treated by medical experts and counsellors to save them from deadly diseases.
Amunonye (2001) defines drug as a substance which by its chemical nature has an effect upon the body or the higher nervous system (the mind). Therefore, many substances not usually thought of as drugs covered by this definition include caffine, nicotine, alcohol, household chemicals and pollutants. It is important to note that drug abuse is not contained simply to the abuse of dangerous drugs like narcotics-opium, heroine etc but also the abuse of panadol, codeine, antibiotics, laxatives etc in other words every substance apart from food is a drug and must therefore be regarded as being detrimental to health if not taken under proper medical advice or used correctly accordingly to medical prescription.
According Ebie and Pela (2000) opined that the Nigerian society does not usually frown at the abuse of drugs which does not produce over behavioural changes. The primitive people recognized the use of tobacco, native brewed drinks, cocoa leave and kolanuts to provide pleasurable relief of pain, fatigue and hunger but never realized they were abusing drugs. Different drugs have different effects some, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, may produce an intense “rush” and initial feeli9ng of boundless energy. Others such as heroine, benzodiazepines or the prescription oxycontin may produce excessive feelings of relaxation and calm. What most drugs have in common though is over stimulation of the pleasure centre of the brain. With time the brain’s chemistry is actually altered to the point where not having the drug becomes extremely uncomfortable and even painful. This compelling urge to used, addition, becomes more and more powerful, disrupting work, relationships and health.
Prescription drug abuse is just as dangerous as street drug use. When used appropriately, prescription drugs in the opiate family, such as vicodin (hydrocodone) and oxycontin, are often prescribed for chronic pain or recovery from surgery. Benzodiazaphines, such as valium or xanax are prescribed to treat anxiety. The problem arises when these drugs begin to be used “off label”. Furthermore, prescription of drugs provide an easy point to other family members susceptible to abuse. Unpleasant youthful activities are widespread in Nigeria and all over Africa to the extent that they have been giving a lot of concern to the government and general public. In primary schools, peer engage in organized crimes and disrupt normal academic programmes. In secondary schools and most Nigerian universities, the activities of secret cults are known to have been source of threat to lives and property. Outside the campuses, a lot of ritual killings are taking place. (Aluede 2000).
The impact of drug abuse among Nigerian youth’s bankrupt, decadent and wasted generation and loss of our societal values and ideals. The situation now appears to be such that no one can claim ignorance of what is happening. We cannot suit on the fence and criminally pretend on the menace of drug abuse among our young people. Little wonder, then that the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan once said “Drugs are tearing apart our societies, spawning crime, spreading diseases such as aids and killing our youths and future”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In most Nigerian dailies, different opinions over the effect of drug abuse among youths are expressed in different kinds of articles as “Drug Abuse”, “Drug Misuse”, Drug Addiction” etc, without empirical evidence to support the claims. It would not be scientific to accept these opinions. There is need therefore to conduct a study on the effect of drug abuse or misuse of drug among youths. The failure of the students to recognize that drug addiction is symptomatic of an underlined psychiatric disorder or psychological conflict has led to the continuous drug taking.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. Does drug abuse among students caused by family background friendship and per group association?
2. Does drug abuse among students used for psychological purposes like, tension relieving, intensifying perception and so on?
3. Does drug abuse cause health hazard which can lead to death?
4. Do parents and teachers have any role to play?
1.4 PURPOSE OF STUDY
This work is an attempt to study the effect of drug abuse among youths and the role of parents and teachers using students in secondary schools in Benin City, Edo State as a case study. This research finding may apply to other primary and post primary institutions in Nigeria. Purpose of this study therefore is to determine the existing finding of other studies like mine.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study is not only important to the two schools under study but to the state in particular and Nigeria in general. The study is significant especially this period of our national life when the federal government is talking of re-branding, “Nigeria”, Great People Great Nation! There is no better way to start the rebranding than from children of school age. This study is also important in our society.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The research work deal on drug abuse among youths: the role parents and teachers in combating the menace. This study was carried out in Benin City.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Caffeine: The central nervous system stimulant present in tea and coffee. It main use is in analgesic preparation,
Pharmaceutical: One skilled in pharmacy a druggist or pharmaceutical chemist.
Barbiturate: Drug used for relaxing the nerves and used to induce sleep.
Cannabis: Another name for India herm.
Chemist: An individual skilled in drugs
Diagnosis: The act of distinguishing one disease from another.
Drug user: This is an individual that takes or that apply drug
Drug abuse: This is the act of making drugs without the doctor prescription.
Health: The word health is a statement of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely an absence of disease and uniformity.
Illicit drug: This is the act of taking a drugs which is dangerous to human health illegally which is not permitted by law.
Infection: This is a symptoms or manifestation of diseases cause by micro organisms.
Medicine: This is a scientific approach, which helps to determine the cause of a disease and the treatment for it using chemotherapy.
Narcotic: A drug, which produce abnormal deep sleep
Opium: Is a narcotic drug or sedative drugs that induces some one to sleep
Pathogens: These are micro organism that cause infection ore disease in human body.
Parent medicine: Medicine that can be obtained without doctors prescription e.g aspirin etc
Pharmacists: One skilled in pharmacy a drug list or pharmaceutical chemist.
Prescription: A written direction for the administration of drug as remedy.
Sedatives: These are drugs that soothe or induce an individual
Stimulants: These refer to drinks or drugs, which act in a way that is opposite to sedative and make the brain active.
WHO: The World Health Organization is the main body concerned with international health.