THE DANGER OF ILLICIT USE OF HARD DRUGS AMONG YOUTH IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
1.1 Background to the Study
The history of human race has also been the history of drug abuse (Maithya, 2009). In itself, the use of drugs does not constitute an evil; in fact some drugs have been a medical blessing. (Maithya, 2009) Since, time in memorial earliest times, herbs, roots, bark leaves have been used to relieve pain and help control diseases. History tells us that the Chinese used Opium as a cure of dysentery before the 18thcentury. European countries such as Britain and Holland were known to exchange opium growth in their colonies for tea and silk with China (United Nations, 1995). Unfortunately, certain drugs that initially produce enticing effects, such as sense of feeling good, elation, serenity and power have evolved into a problem of dependence and abuse.
1.1.1 State of Drug and Substance Abuse: Global Perspective
Drug abuse is a global problem that poses a great danger to the lives of individuals, society and political stability and security in many countries (United Nations, 1998). According to the United Nations (2005), the use of illicit drugs has increased throughout the world and the major world trend is the increasing availability of many kinds of drugs among ever widening spectrum of consumers. Of major concern is that children seem to be targeted as the new market for the drug industry globally.
Drugs and substance abuse has become the focus of research and preventive activities in the developed countries for decades (Muyabo, 1996). A study carried out by the London School of Economics in 1980 on students learning behaviour revealed a relationship between drug abuse and poor academic results (Otieno, Balswick & Norland, 1994).Africa has not been spared from the abuse of drugs by the youth. The continent, over recent years has experienced an upsurge in the production, distribution and consumption of drugs with the youth and young adults being most affected (Asuni & Pela, 1986).
Africa has huge young and vulnerable populations which has become the target market for the illicit drug industry. This constitutes 56% of the population aged between 17-25 years, which constitutes youth in tertiary institution. In Ethiopia it is reported that 82 per cent of the street children in Addis Ababa use some kind of a drug (United Nations, 2013). Besides, the threat of increasing consumption of illicit drugs amongst the young people and children, South Africa is becoming a major transhipment point in the international drug trade as well as a major producer of Dagaa (Honwana & Lamb, 1998). Gilberto Gerra (2013), the chief of drug and preventive health branch at the United Nations office on drugs and crime pointed out that West Africa is completely weak in terms of boarder control, undermanned ports and the big drug cartels from Colombia and Latin America have chosen Africa as a way to reach Europe. The United Nations official (Gerra) added that when a country becomes a transit point it immediately becomes a consumption country.
According to the United Nations (UN) statistics 2013, 37,000 people in Africa die annually from diseases associated with drug abuse. The UN estimates that there 28 million drug users in Africa (United Nations, 2013). An International conference on drug abuse in Kampala 2013 reported that young people in consumption countries were the most vulnerable section of the population, especially those in the period of early and late adolescence who are mostly unable to resist peer pressure and start experimenting with drugs in schools or even outside school. The international conference on drug abuse in Kampala (2013) advocated for an immediate strong inventions to reverse the trend.
1.1.2 State of Drug and Substance Abuse in Nigeria
In Nigeria, reports of young peoples’ lives ruined by alcohol and drugs are rampant. The youth, especially, are vulnerable to the vice owing to peer pressure, media influence, poor guidance and role modelling (Kikuvi, 2009). This has taken root in schools leading to the high school drop outs and idleness. According to Amayo and Wangai (1994), drug consumption has led to unrest and widespread destruction of life and property in schools. Nigeria was ranked among the top four African Nations notorious for consumption of narcotics by the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (World report, 2005).
The Nigerian airport of Mombasa has been identified in the report as the major transit point for drug trafficking in Africa. According to a National survey on the magnitude of alcohol and drug abuse conducted by National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) (2012), the abuse of alcohol in the country is worrying. The facts and figures from this report indicate that 13 per cent of teenagers in the 10 to 11 years age bracket have used an intoxicating substance mostly alcohol followed by cigarettes. In the 15 to 24 year bracket, a worrying 11.7 per cent are currently hooked in to alcohol, while 6.2 per cent are regular users of Tobacco products, of this group, 4.7 per cent chew miraa (khat) while 1.5 per cent smokes bhang. Regrettably this age bracket constitutes tertiary institution going-age in Nigeria. The sad reality presented by the figures and facts in NACADA’S 2012 survey on drugs that is 14.8 per cent of the respondents aged between10 to 14 years old are completely oblivious of the risks associated with substance abuse. These statistics underline the need to educate our young people on dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. A number of studies have found a clear and consistent association between substance abuse and school achievement. This practice is not only a determinant to school success and motivation in learning but also on psychological and physical well-being among adolescents (Abot, 2005). The initiation into substance abuse in the early stages of life of the adolescents is positively associated to increased risk of early school dropout and an involvement in deviant adolescent behaviours and behavioural problems into adulthood, which are manifestation in learning among youth in tertiary institution (Abot, 2005).
If left unaddressed, escalating rate of drug and substance abuse puts the country at a risk of losing generations as well as underdevelopment owing to the diversion of resources to address among others; basic needs for uneducated and unskilled youth, dependant young adults, increased health care needs among the youth abusing alcohol and drugs, the cost of policing will also be high due to crimes resulting from idleness and youth drinking habits, all those compounded will go a long way in frustrating the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) specifically the Education for All (E.F.A) goal, and the vision 2030 which envisages making Nigeria industrial and mid-level income country.
1.1.3 Drug Abuse and Motivation to Learn
Motivation is something that energizes, directs and sustains behaviour; it gets students moving and points then in a particular direction (Beighler, et al, 1993). Students’ motivation is reflected in personal investment and in cognitive, emotional and behavioural engagement in school activities (Fredrick et al., 2010). Virtually all students are motivated in one way or another. One student may be keenly interested in classroom subject matter and seek out challenging course work, participate actively in class discussions and earn high marks; another student may be more concerned with the social side of school, interacting with classmates frequently, attending extracurricular activities almost every day. Still another may be focussed on athletics, excelling in physical education classes.
Motivation increases student’s time on task which is an important factor affecting their learning achievement (Brophy, 1988) a motivated student makes a concerted effort to understand classroom material. The more motivated students are, the more they want to be accepted and respected by peers. Students who have little interests in academic achievement are at high risk of dropping out before they graduate from high school. Yet another student perhaps due to undetected learning disability or negative peer pressure and consequently indulgence in drug and substance abuse may exhibit withdrawal symptoms, a shy temperament and uncoordinated behaviour. Such a student may be motivated to avoid academics, social situations or athletic activities, pursue school tasks apathetically with an ultimate result of declining performing in academics. According to Ryan et al (2011) indicators of motivation in participation in school related activities include among of time spent on homework, rate of homework completion achievement of high grades, school attendance and perceptions of the connectedness to school, teachers and peers.
Akwa Ibom state has posted declining results in Nigeria National examinations compared to neighbouring districts in the country among other factors that can be attributed to this trend is the problem of illicit brew. The region being under the Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) classification is devoid of any meaningful economic activity, this situation has forced many households to turn into illicit liquor brewing as a mainstay to earn a livelihood, school going children in those households and the neighbourhood get exposed and introduced to drug abuse at a very tender age.
Data available at the District Education office at Akwa Ibom state show that in 2012 alone, 16 students from 5 tertiary institutions were an agenda for discussion in several District Education Board meetings facing eminent expulsion. Again during sports and other out of school activities, it is common to meet students taking alcohol or being suspended for having taken drugs. In a recent Education Day, the District Education Officer urged that liquor licences of those who sell beer to students, be cancelled by the relevant authority. It is against this backdrop that the current study sets out to study the effects of drug and substance abuse on participation in learning in Akwa Ibom state of Akwa Ibom state with a view of suggesting intervention measures to salvage the drug abuse menace in our Nigerian Tertiary institutions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the overwhelming intervention strategies by the Government, religious organizations, non-state actors and many other keen stakeholders to curb the problem of drug and substance abuse especially among the youth, the number of school going youth being suck into drug abuse seems to be escalating day by day. The government for instance has placed education at the centre of the social pillar of vision 2030 that intents to make Nigeria a middle level income country. To show its commitment it has highly subsidized tertiary institution education thus boosting access and retention rates in the system, all these intervention strategies have had huge cost implications on the taxpayer including the opportunity cost. Drug and substance abuse threatens and tends to derail these noble strides by demotivating the students in learning and subsequently ruining these school going children that the government intends to rely on in driving the economy to the next level. Drugs and substance abuse menace should therefore be given the attention it deserves if the intentions of this hefty investment in education are to bear fruits. Akwa Ibom state like any other region in the country experiences internal inefficiencies in the school system such as declining academic performance; apathy in learning activities and subsequent drop out in schools as demonstrated in the background to the study. The fact that there is no known study in the region that has ever sought to address the problem of drug abuse in tertiary institutions forms a justification of the current study that seeks to establish the effects of drug and substance abuse on participation in learning among youth in tertiary institution in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to assess the danger of illicit Use of Hard Drugs Among Youth in tertiary Institutions.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study sought to:
Identify the commonly abused drugs in tertiary institutions in Akwa Ibom state.
establish the causes of drug abuse among youth in tertiary institution in Akwa Ibom state.
Establish the prevalence of drug abuse among youth in tertiary institution of Akwa Ibom state.
Establish the effects of drug abuse on participation in learning among students in Akwa Ibom state.
1.5 Research Questions
What are the commonly abused drugs by students in tertiary institutions in Akwa Ibom state?
What are the causes of drug abuse among youth in tertiary institution in Akwa Ibom state?
How prevalent is drug abuse among youth in tertiary institution in Akwa Ibom state?
What are the effects of drug abuse on participation in learning among youth in tertiary institution in Akwa Ibom state?
1.6 Assumptions of the Study
Data from students, teacher counsellor and key informants on the cause, prevalence, effects and the commonly abused drugs was accurate.
1.7 Scope of the Study
It was not possible to carry out the study in all the schools in Akwa Ibom state due to financial constraints, time factor and other logistics. Again, the study targeted youth in tertiary institution and principals and therefore other stakeholders like parents and community leaders were not involved in the study.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Drug and substance abuse may involve powerful people in the society and as such respondents might have being afraid to give information for fear of being victimized. School Principals might have withheld information about drug and substance abuse amongst their students since this would tarnish the reputation of their schools.
1.9 Significance of the Study
The findings are expected to yield significant empirical data and information on the effect of drug and substance abuse on participation in learning and school participation of learners.
The findings are expected to help the ministry of education officials in understanding the causes of drug abuse amongst youth in tertiary institution hence help them develop intervention strategies.
The study is likely to add to the body of knowledge in the area of drug and substance abuse in Nigerian tertiary institutions that may be utilized by other researchers.
1.10 Operational Definition of Terms
Addiction- Having a physical and /or psychological dependence on a substance. Drug abuse- Drug abuse is the non- medical use of drugs that destroys health and productive life of an individual.
Drug dependency- A physical and or a psychological need for a mood- altering substance.
Drug- Is any substance that, when absorbed in to the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function.
Hypnos datives- These are drugs that depress brain function. They have quietening and tranquilizing and hypnotic (sleep) effects e.g. benzodiazepines.
Motivation in learning – This is taken to mean interest in the pursuit of learning activities in school as portrayed by parameters like academic achievements, school attendance, participation in co-curricular activities, discipline, absenteeism and conflict with teachers.
Narcotics-These are drugs from the opiate family such as, Bhang, Cocaine and Heroin.
Opiates-A type o-f narcotic drug that acts as depressants in the central nervous system. They come from opium. They include hydrocodone, heroin and oxycodone.
Stimulants-These are drugs which cause alertness and create energy for example Amphetamines.
Withdrawal- What someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol experiences when they abruptly discontinue the use of drugs or alcohol.
This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research