Drug abuse among secondary school students in Nigeria has become a national concern.
This has serious impacts on education and future leadership, innovations and human resources, as these youths are in their formative years of education, career development, social skills and identity formation. The study was to assess students’ perception of the causes and influence of drug abuse on their learning behaviour in government secondary schools in Bida, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to determine students’ perception of drugs and drug abuse; examine the perceived causes and extent of drug abuse among secondary school students; identify commonly abused drugs among secondary school students; and establish the consequences of drug abuse on their learning behaviours as perceived by students. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey design. The instrument used was a self-developed questionnaire with content validity index value of 0.875 and a reliability value of 0.955. One thousand four hundred and fifty two (1452) questionnaires were administered to the respondents (students) in six (6) public secondary schools in Bida, Niger state, Nigeria. However, a total number of nine hundred and sixty seven (967) representing 66.6% of the questionnaires were returned, analysed and reported. The study concluded that students have good perception of drug abuse, some of the commonly abused drugs include codeine, rohypnol, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and heroin; and drug abuse among secondary school students have consequences on their learning behaviours. Therefore, it was recommended that students should be counselled regularly to solve the perceived causes of drugs and substance abuse before getting out of hands, the school administrators should be aware of all the commonly abused drugs by these students to take appropriate measure to reduce their availability in the environment, communities and other law enforcement agencies should organize and send a clear and consistent message to students by developing and implementing a broad, comprehensive approach to dealing with substance abuse and stakeholders and school administrators should always have a more education-oriented approach to drug prevention and the consequences of drug abuse on their learning behaviour and the danger for their future.
• Background to the study
• According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Report (2005), some 200 million people, or 5percent of the world’s population aged 15 to 64years have used drugs at least once within a year which is about 15 million more than the previous year’s estimate. Likewise, according to the World Drug Report (2005), the use of illicit drugs in all nations has increased in recent years. The report goes on to note that the increasing availability of a variety of drugs to an ever widening socio-economic spectrum of consumers is disconcerting, although the main problem at the global level continues to be opiates (notably heroine) followed by cocaine. For most of Europe and Asia, opiates accounted for 62 percent of all drug treatment sought in 2003. While 3.3 to 4.1 % of the global population admits to consuming drugs, the most worrisome trend for the UNDCP Executive Director is the younger and younger ages at which people are becoming addicted. In Pakistan for example, the share of those who started heroine use at 15 to 20years of age has doubled to almost 24 percent. The overall health of the user is affected negatively and behaviours associated with drug abuse predispose the abuser to crime and contagious diseases including HIV/AIDS (Centre for Disease Control, 2000).
Substance use is becoming increasingly widespread in many African countries (Ebie, 1988; Adeleke, 1996; Adeleke, 1997). In Nigeria, a substantial percentage of the national budgetary health allocation is utilized for treatment and rehabilitation of people with substance use problems (Adeleke, 1996). In this Nigeria, industrialization, urbanization and increased exposure to Western life style have contributed to the spreading of substance use, with alcohol and tobacco acting as “gateway drugs” to the use of other substances like cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, inhalants and hallucinogens (Abiodun, Ololube & Akindele ,1994). Factors like unhealthy family background, high social class, peer-group influence, desire to remain awake at night, pressure to succeed in academic work, self-reported poor mental health, and easy accessibility of drugs have also been implicated (Abiodun et al., 1994, Attah-John,1985).
The Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has stated that drug abuse is a major problem in schools (Alemika, 1998). For instance, more than 5% of the school population in Lagos state, Nigeria had taken a psychoactive drug once in their lives (Alemika, 1998). Many of these behaviours are heavily tied to the peer culture, as children learn from and imitate the peers they like and admire. Wanting to be acceptable to others becomes very important in adolescence, and this factor is significant in the development of eating disorders, alcohol consumption, tobacco and drug use, tanning, not practicing safe sex, and vulnerability to injury, among other behaviour.
These adolescent who get involved in risky behaviour such as drug abuse often have high levels of conflict with their parents and poor self control, suggesting that they engage in such behaviour to manage a stressful life. Adolescents who abused substances typically do more poorly in school, and family problems, deviance, and low self esteem appear to explain this relationship. Parents and peers influence adolescent drinking by influencing attitude about alcohol and by acting as role models (Taylor, 2003).On the other hand, parental deprivation due to deaths, divorces, separation or discord has also been strongly associated with drug abuse (Odejide & Sanda, 1997).
Despite National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other organization-based interventions, drug abuse is on the rise with over 40% of students abusing various types of drugs. Drug abuse appears to be a common behaviour among secondary school students. In shopping centres and other public spaces, students who have dropped out of school because of drug abuse, can be found loitering and participating in other forms of criminal activities. In Nigeria, there are only a few published studies focusing on substance use among students (Alakija, 1984, Ihezue, 1988 and Akinyemi, 1996) none of which has been carried out in the area covered by the present investigation.
Given the availability, consequences and increasing use of drugs in Nigeria generally and recent increases in political violence thought to be related to the abuse of substances in Bida, Nigeria, it is important to establish students’ perception of causes and influence of drugs and substance abuse on their learning behaviour.
• Statement of the Problem
Normally, the secondary school student is supposed to be focused on his/her academic pursuits, be in school promptly and attend classes regularly in order to succeed and become a very useful member of the society who at any point in time should be willing , ready and able to contribute meaningfully towards the attainment of overall societal goal.
Recently, most political violence, disharmony and disturbances in Bida are usually perpetrated by these adolescents that are easily convinced and used by bad and corrupt politicians. Some of these behaviours are suspected to be exhibited under the influence of drug abuse. Factors like unhealthy family background, high social class, peer-group influence, desire to remain awake at night, pressure to succeed in academic work, self-reported poor mental health, and easy accessibility of drugs have also been implicated (Abiodun et al, 1994).The foremost concern is the number of these youths that will form an addiction to serious drugs, jeopardizing their own health and safety and creating difficulties for their families and the public at large(Walsh, 1992, Leibsohn, 1994). Drug abuse among these youths if not checked, can have negative consequences for the academic, social, psychological and physical development of users.
In view of the aforementioned, therefore, this study aims to explore the perceptions of public secondary school students in Bida about the causes and influence of drug abuse on their learning behaviours.
• Objectives of the study
The general objective of this study was to assess students’ perception of the causes and influence of substance abuse in government secondary schools in Bida, Nigeria on their learning behaviour.
The specific objectives of this study were to:
(1) Determine students’ knowledge of drug abuse;
(2) Examine the perceived causes of drug abuse among secondary school students;
(3) Find out the extent of drug abuse among secondary school students;
(4) Identify commonly abused drugs among secondary school students;
(5) Establish the consequences of substance abuse on their learning behaviours as perceived by students.
1.3 Research Questions
1. In the understanding of students, what is drug abuse?
2. What are the perceived causes of drug abuse among secondary school students?
2. How frequently does a secondary school student abuse drugs?
3. What are the drugs commonly abused among secondary school students?
4. What in the students’ perception are the results of abusing theses drugs on their learning behaviours?
1.4 Scope of the Study
This study was limited to Nigerian public secondary school students in Bida Local Government Area of Niger State. Bida is a Local Government Area in Niger State, Nigeria.
The Bida Emirate is a traditional state in Nigeria, a successor to the old Nupe Kingdom, with its headquarters in Bida, Niger State. The head of the state is the Etsu Nupe, considered the leader of the Nupe people.
Bida is a Local Government Area in Niger State, Nigeria and a city on the A124 highway which occupies most of the area.
The LGA has an area of 51 km² and a population of 188,181 at the 2006 census.
Bida is the second largest city in Niger State with an estimated population of 178,840 (the world Gazette , 2007 ) . It is located southwest of Minna, capital of Niger State, and is a dry, arid town. The major ethnic group is the Nupe. Bida is the headquarters of the Nupe Kingdom led by the Etsu Yahaya Abubakar and consisting of many districts, such as Katcha, Lapai, Mokwa, Enagi, Baddeggi, Agaie, Pategi, Lemu, Kutigi, and others. The leadership style of the ancient town of Bida is emirship, and the head of the town is addressed as Etsu Nupe.
The town is known for its production of traditional crafts, notably glass and brassware. Bida is also known for its Durbar festival.It is also the home of the Federal Polytechnic Bida.
There are other places in Bida such as Bamisu estate, Ramatu dangana, ECWA poly road, Small Market, Main Market and others. There are also different schools like The Federal Government Girls College, Federal Polytechnic Staff Secondary School and others.
Bida is not only occupied by northerners, it is also a place with vast tribes like Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Igala, Urhobo, and other tribes inclusive.
Content / Population Scope
Students from junior secondary school 3 and the senior secondary students 1, 2 and 3 as well as the school counselors from the selected schools were involved in this study.
Two weeks was utilized for this study. The first week was used for test retesting the questionnaire while the second week was required to collect data for the study.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study enlightened all stake holders in the Nigerian secondary school education on the perception of students in the secondary schools about drugs and how it can influence or affect their learning Behaviours, the forms of drugs commonly abused and various strategies for curbing this menace as explained below:-
-The students, family and community would be informed about what drug abuse is.
-The students, family, community and school managements would be enlightened with regards to causes of drug abuse among secondary school students.
-School managements could also benefit from the study in terms of becoming aware of the commonly abused drugs by students.
-This study would greatly benefit Government and educational lanners in several ways such as: Curriculum development to include drug abuse related issues.
1.6 Conceptual framework
Independent Variables Dependent Variables
CAUSES OF DRUG ABUSE INFLUENCE OF DRUG ABUSE
• Poor parenting Drug dependence
• Peer influence Decrease cognition
• Easy accessibility to drugs Missing classes
• Experimental curiosity Disloyalty to school rules
• Personality problems due to socioeconomic situations Fighting in class / school
• Desire to work for long period
Level of Religiosity
Level of information available on drugs
Positive role model
Anti drug campaigns1.7 Operational definition of key terms
Drug: Any product other than food or water that affects/alter the way the human system works.
Drug abuse: Is the use of a mood-altering drug to change the way one feels.
Drug addiction: Addiction to drugs or alcohol means that a person’s body can no longer function without these substances.
Drug related problems: This term is used to describe all the negative effects associated with drug abuse including ill health, violence, conflicts with friends or school authorities, destruction of school property and academic underperformance.
Illegal/legal drugs: In this study illegal drugs refer to the substances deemed harmful to the mental and physical wellbeing of the individual by the government who seeks to control or discourage consumption by law, such as cocaine, morphine, cannabis etc.
Intervention: Attempts to help drug users positively modify their behaviour and change their attitude towards the misuse of drugs are referred to as interventions..
Prevention: For the purposes of this study, prevention will refer to educational activities, programmes or policies aimed at enabling young people to stay healthy and productive and inhabit an environment free from drug abuse (primary prevention).
Psychoactive Substance: Refers to any substance that when taken can modify perception, mood, cognition, behaviour, or motor functions.
Strategies: This term refers to the methods or approaches that schools have put in place to address drug related problems.
Substance abuse: Refers to the use of all chemicals, drugs and industrial solvents that can produce dependence (psychological and physical).
Youth: The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States.