Drug Abuse and Its Effect on Tertiary Students Learning Capability and Academic Achievement in Rivers Students



1.1 Background of the study

Drug misuse among the global youth population has become a severe issue that affects everyone. Addiction sends many people, particularly young people, on a downward spiral of hopelessness that may be lethal in some situations. A drug, according to Kalunta (2015), is anything other than food or water that alters how people feel, think, see, and behave. Drug abuse, according to Kerochio (2015), is defined as the use of drugs for purposes other than medical treatment, with detrimental consequences for the user in a negative social, cognitive, or bodily aspect.

The use of medications in and of itself poses no risk, as pharmaceuticals that are properly provided have proven to be beneficial. According to Falco (1988), as referenced by Sambo (2008), persistent drug use can harm an adolescent’s physical and psychological development irreversibly. Depending on how medications are used, they might be useful or dangerous. Apart from being aware of the negative consequences of substance abuse, various studies have found that students use drugs for a variety of reasons, including: curiosity, peer and family pressure, lack of parental supervision, personality issues, socioeconomic issues, the need for extra energy for work, frustration, happiness, fear reduction, drug availability, the need to maintain a drug habit in order to avoid withdrawal syndrome, and drug availability. With the rise in substance misuse, there has also been an increase in violence among high school and university students. Hard drug usage, such as alcohol, sedatives, cocaine, cocoa leaves, heroin, Indian hemp, tobacco, morphine, and others, has risen dramatically in recent years, particularly among undergraduates.

Drug misuse may be motivated by social, psychological, or psychological factors such as curiosity, boredom, fear relief, sexual and physical pleasures, or family history. Despite the knowledge that drug misuse has negative consequences for teenagers by altering their perception of obstacles and issues in the brain, the number of students who use or abuse stimulants has gradually climbed in recent years (Alan, 2003). In addition, some University students who are dissatisfied with their lives as a result of rage, frustration, academic failure, or boredom turn to alcohol to fit in and as a kind of solace. This has a negative impact on their academic achievement since time that should be spent studying is diverted to relaxation and sleep after the food has been consumed (Alan, 2003).

1.2       Statement of the problem

Drug misuse is a well-known problem that has been criticized by everyone, including the federal, state, and municipal governments. Abuse of many forms of drugs is very widespread among teenagers and even adults. Cigarettes, brewed alcohol, locally brewed alcohol, tramadol, rephnol, aspirin, and cannabis are among the most often misused narcotics among undergraduates at a southern Nigerian institution (Essien, 2010). The repercussions of drug misuse are particularly concerning because the primary perpetrators and victims are the nation’s future leaders. The unregulated ways and fashions in which medications are offered to the public in our markets and medical shops, which are contributory reasons to drug misuse, were frowned upon by the society of physicians and pharmacists.

Despite initiatives by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC/NDLEA) and other organizations, drug usage is on the rise, with more than 40% of students taking various sorts of narcotics (Ekpenyong, 2012). Drug abuse appears to be a deeply ingrained habit among tertiary students, who are tomorrow’s leaders and need a decent education in the proper path. Consistent drug abuse among this group of people can lead to psychosocial problems in society, as well  affect academic performance and mental health, cause physiological and psychiatric disturbances, and have been identified as a major cause of poor academic achievement, physical health problems, poor finances, emotional problems, memory impairment, risk factor for most chronic diseases, and family relationship problems, among other things. One can only hope that this offensive behavior and its ramifications do not result in the spawning of a generation of disturbed youngsters. Because of the frequent and widespread drug crises at Nigeria’s higher institutions, this assumption is not unjustified. Thus, against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine drug abuse and its effect on tertiary students learning capability and academic achievement in Rivers State university Students.

1.3       Objective of the study

The broad objective of this study is to examine  drug abuse and its effect on tertiary students learning capability and academic achievement in Rivers Students. Specifically the study sought to:

  1.  Examine the drugs that are mostly abuse among undergraduate students of  Rivers State University.
  2. Ascertain the causes of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Rivers  State University.
  3. To investigate the effect of drug abuse among undergraduate students of River State University.
  4. To proffer possible solutions to the menace of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Rivers  State University.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. What is the level of drug abuse among RSU students?
  2. What are the reasons that propel students to engage in drug abuse?
  3. What are the types of drugs commonly abused by undergraduate students of Rivers State University?
  4. What are the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of undergraduate students of Rivers State University?
  5. What are the possible solutions of drug abuse among undergraduate students of River State University?

1.5       Significance of the study

The study’s findings would aid in raising awareness among Nigerian adolescents and tertiary students about the need to avoid activities that might lead to drug misuse. It will also contribute to and serve as a significant source of academic and policy information  on the issue of drug addiction in Nigeria and enlighten policy makers on information to mitigate this anomie. The research will also contribute to the strengthening of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, which is enshrined in the federal republic of Nigeria’s constitution (1999) as amended, and its recommendations, if properly implemented, will go a long way toward reducing the threat of drug abuse in our society. Empirically, findings from the study will add to the body of existing  literature and serve as a reference material to both student and scholars who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.

1.6       Scope of the study

The scope of this study is to examine  drug abuse and its effect on tertiary students learning capability and academic achievement. It  will examine the drugs that are mostly abuse among undergraduate students. And ascertain the causes of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Rivers  State University. The study is however delimited to River State University Student in Portharcourt.

1.7       Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited to tertiary institution  as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other level of education. However, despite the constraint  encountered during the  research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

1.8       Definition of terms

Drug: A drug refers to a substance that could bring about a change in the biological function through its chemical actions. It is also considered as a substance that modifies perceptions, cognition, mood, behaviour and general body functions.

Drug Abuse: Drug abuse is the taking of drugs or a deliberate use of drugs for purposes other than its intended purpose without the supervision of a physician or a medical practitioner. It also refers to the misuse or wrong use of drugs which have adverse effects on the central nervous system, mind, mood, behaviour and personality of the individual.

Academic performance: Academic performance is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution have achieve their educational goal. It also describe as how well one does in school and the achievement he/she get.


National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (2017): Stages and effects of drug abuse

National institute on drug abuse, (2018). U.S Department of human service.

NAFDAC (2018). Drug and Substance Abuse in Tertiary Institutions in Port Harcourt. Nigeria.

Kalunta (2000). Substance and Drug. Presented at the National Seminar on Drug Abuse Enforcement, Lagos, May. 5.

Kandel, U. D. and Chen, W. (2015) Drug Addiction Among Police Secondary School Students. Paper Presented at the Bi-annual conference of the force education officers and the first Nigerian training course for NGO’s in the treatment of Drug Dependent Persons in Benin City, Nigeria, 1 – 20

Kerochio, B (2018). Drug use in Kenya, Nairobi, Uzima press. (Kuria M.W. drugs abuse among urban as compared to a rural secondary school students in Kenya: a short communication).



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