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Factors Associated With Substance Abuse Among Youths in Anambra East Lga. Anambra State



This study was carried out on the factors associated with substance abuse among youths in Anambra, east LGA. Anambra state.  Anambra state formed the area of study. The study adopted triangulation design that combines both qualitative and quantitative research techniques and measures. The data was collected using self-completion questionnaires administered to youths and community members and interview schedules for area chief in addition to personal observations.  This formed primary sources of data collection.  The study population involved four villages, 120 youths and 120 community members drawn from 2189 households in Anambra East Local Government Area. The study used both stratified and simple random sampling methods to select households, youths and community members in each of the four villages of Anambra East Local Government Area, Anambra state.  The data collected from sampled respondents was tallied and converted into frequencies and percentages.

The study findings indicated that alcohol was the most abused drug in the area, followed by pain killers (Opioid), weed and cigarettes in that order.  Some respondents were reluctant to give actual information on hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and tramadol due to legal implications surrounding these substances. Based on the gateway theory, which postulates that the use of one substance culminates in experimentation with other substances, it is deduced that the rate of consumption of alcohol alongside other legal substances such as pain killers and cigarettes in Nigeria may be on the rise. The study findings highlighted the factors influencing drug and substance abuse amongst the youths in Nigeria, the community initiatives to curb the vice and the preparedness of National administration and other law enforcement agencies in arresting the situation.  It is hoped that the findings and recommendations of this study will aid the government, National administration officials, law enforcement officers and other stakeholders in security sector in making the right decisions pertaining to the fight against drug and substance abuse in the country.




1.1 Background Information

Various people describe drugs in a variety of ways. By definition, a drug is anything that when consumed by a living organism tends to alter one or a myriad of its functions. Owing to their chemical nature, drugs (legal or illegal) alter body functions, how people think, perceive things or act. These include substances that are useful or harmful to the body. There are numerous ways through which drug administration can be done. There are drugs that are injected, chewed, smoked while others are sniffed. According to Ghodge (2003), drugs are substances that other than those required for the conservation of normal health modify how certain processes within the body of the organism when consumed. On the other hand, in the field of medicine, drugs are considered to be elements that have curative or preventative capabilities against diseases.

It is not uncommon to find people consuming drugs for purposes other than what is recommended or more often than not recommended. Ghodge (2003) contends that drug abuse occurs in instances when drugs are used for non-medical purposes. From a general perspective, substance abuse, also referred to as substance abuse, encompasses the consumption of substances such as tobacco, alcohol or other substances that have no medical value and are more often than not detrimental to one’s health. Another definition of substance focuses on the intake of psychoactive substances so as to alter an individual’s psychological state. However, it is worth noting that this only applies in cases where there is no medical supervision. The continued consumption of drugs eventually leads to a condition referred in medical circles as pathological drug dependence. When an individual reaches such a state, they become unable to desist from consuming the drug even when it becomes apparent the drugs might be causing considerable health damage to them individually or to other people around them. The negative consequences arising as a result of drug abuse are well documented, whether it is the effects on the individual or society.

Ndetei (2004) notes that drug and substance abuse among the youth in Nigeria’s urban set up has been on an upward trajectory over the past few years. To overcome challenges and problems plaguing them, the country’s youth population has turned to the consumption of both licit and illicit substances. As a result of the markedly high levels of drug consumption in this age group, crime rates and incidences of domestic violence have also been on the rise. According to Ndetei (2004), as of 2004, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among drug users injecting drugs stands between 68% and 88%. Previous research findings have shown that Cannabis Sativa (weed) is the drug of choice for most drug abusers in Nigeria. Heroin, Opioid, cocaine, benzodiazepines, inhalants and amphetamine-type stimulants are also common drugs abused in the country. Today, the regions most affected by the drug problem are Anambra and Mombasa (Chege, Mungai & Oresi, 2020).

The study therefore seeks to interrogate the enabling circumstances which make the Youths and Young adults victims of alcohol abuse from modes as exposed by Kessel and Walton (1965) viz incitement, opportunity, example and accessibility.  The researcher found Anambra East Local Government Area in Anambra state rich area to conduct the study due to its notoriety in the brewing, sale and consumption of illicit brews and trafficking of drugs.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Cases of drug and substance misuse among the youths are rising steadily and at a worrying trend not only in Anambra state but also in most parts of Nigeria.  If intervention measures are not put in place, the fate for future generation is at stake.   Most youths have become addicts, hopelessness and uninterested in getting married.  Even those in marriage relationships, many of them have abdicated their conjugal rights threatening procreation process.

Many youths indulge themselves in drugs and substance abuse for all sorts of reasons.  They range from dysfunctional families, peer influence, availability of alcohol and drugs, influence of the social media, unemployment and stress to mention a few.

The financial repercussions of alcohol abuse are severe, especially for the poor.

If the vice is left unchecked, there will be high crime rate and loss of future generation.  Hence, there is need to investigate the factors influencing the vice among the youths with the aim of creating awareness on the effects of using the same.  The study will also be a source of reference material for future researchers on the same topic.


1.3 Research Objectives

The main objective is to examine the elements influencing drug and substance misuse amongst the youths in Nigeria and make recommendations aimed at curbing the vise.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Identify the most abused drugs and substances in Anambra state.
  2. Determine contributing factors causing initial use and influencing drugs and substance abuse among the youths. iii.   Identify specific problems associated with drug and substance abuse amongst the youths and society as a whole.
  3. Identify community initiatives employed to fight drug and substance abuse

 1.4 Research Questions

  1. Which are the most abused drugs in Anambra state?
  2. What are the probable causes of drugs and substance abuse among the young people in Anambra state?
  • What are the specific problems faced by drug and substance abusers?
  1. What community initiatives are there to fight drug and substance abuse?

1.5 Scope of the Study

The study covered four villages in Anambra East Local Government Area, Anambra state. Specifically, the study focused on the lapses in family set-ups and law enforcement agencies which together with other factors greatly contributed to drugs and substance abuse among the youths.  This study made use of youths, community members, National Government administrators and community data sets whose sample was reliable.

1.6 Rationale/ Justification of the Study

Research conducted on how drug and substance abuse influences social behavior indicates that substance abuse is linked to among others increased crime rates, student riots in schools, poverty, and a high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS. It is worth noting that the youth are at most risk of falling into the relentless cycle of drug abuse. The reason for this is that young people are prone to a media culture that portrays drug abuse as fashionable and social exposure (NACADA, 2006).

The study was expected to explore the factors influencing drug abuse amongst the youths and its effects in the functioning of the family and society at large. The findings of the study were anticipated to aid law enforcement agencies, policy makers and other stakeholders in the fight against the vice.  The study was also intended to be a source of reference to scholars and consultants as well as law enforcement agencies involved in curbing the menace in the community.

1.7 Operationalization of Terms

The following terms are used in the study to mean as indicated below:

Drug and Substance Abuse:  Refers to the use of chemicals other than in sickness

Consumption:  Intake of brews for enjoyment, socialization, relief of stress (anxiety) or for any other reason, or due to an addiction.

Youth: Refers to both male and female persons between the ages of 18 to 35 years.

Basic needs:  Includes all the needs required for the family to function and grow. They include food (including water), medicine, shelter, clothing and education.

Second Generation Brews: All cheap affordable alcoholic liquids either locally processed or imported. These Includes alcoholic spirits, wines, whisky, brandy, beer, etc

Law enforcers:  A section of a country’s security organ charged with the responsibility of law enforcement, and crime investigations. In Nigeria they include National Police Service, National Government administrators, and the judiciary.


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