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DRUG ABUSE AMONG YOUTHS IN ORUK ANAM LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background of the Study
Drug abuse has always been an international problem because it has never been possible to confine drugs to their places of origin. The scale of global drug problems generated concern as long ago as 1909 when the first International Drug Conference was convened in Shanghai. Since then, there has been an extensive international programme of legislation, latterly under the auspices of the United Nations and between 1912 and 1972 twelve multi-lateral drug treaties were concluded (Edwards and Busch, 1981).
The use of hard drugs is harmful not only to the addicted but it also impacts negatively on the fabrics of the society, and youths in particular. According to Sahibzada (2010), drug abuse has killed the youth morally, socially as well as psychologically. For whatever reason drugs are used, it is important to understand the nature of drugs, their use and abuse, as well as the social meanings they have for those who use them. Drug abuse harms everybody and does good to none.
Youths in Oruk Anam Local Government Area as well as other societies are well known as future leaders. They occupy a delicate and sensitive position within the population structure. In recent time, a good number of youths in diverse communities have been involved in drug abuse (Horwood and David, 2000). Drug abuse is any taking of a drug which harms or threatens to harm the physical or mental health or social well-being of an individual, or other individuals or of society at large which is illegal (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1987). Although, most of these drugs are commonly found in our societies, their use is sometimes restricted and illegal which is punishable by law. The effects of drug abuse on an individual therefore form the essence for its cumulative effects on the society. Several categories of drugs or substance are susceptible to abuse by youths. These drugs range from most common and less expensive such as cigarettes and alcohol to expensive and more deadly such as cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. The major indication of drug addiction is the dependency level or irresistible desire to take drugs by any means, any where and any how. There are several factors which can influence the abuse of drugs among youths; the major ones are peer pressure, weak parental control, child abuse, imitation emotional stress, truancy among students the availability of the drugs and the ineffectiveness of the laws in our society on drug trafficking and abuse (Eastin, Swan and Sinha, 2000).
From the sociological view point, youths who persistently abuse drugs often experience an array of problems, including road accidents, academic difficulties, youths undevelopment, health – related problems (including mental disorder), as well as family crises; This problem of drug abuse among youth has attracted a lot of adverse effects on youth development and society.
However, in a determined bid to reduce the rate of drug – related offences, in Nigeria, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have gratefully stepped up to fight against the consumption of and trafficking in illicit hard drugs. The efforts of these agencies notwithstanding, many youths in Nigeria still have access to drugs and this is the reason we have a high incidence of drug abuse, crime rate and youth undevelopment.
Based on the forgoing, this research is set to investigate the extent to which drug abuse among youths has impacted on their development with reference to Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The impact of drug abuse often reaches beyond the abuser to family members, friends, co-workers and society at large (Towers, 1987). Today, drug abuse is one of the most vexing and pervasive problems that almost all the countries in the world have faced, including Nigeria (WHO, 2002). The consequence of drug abuse is very devastating; unfortunately, the youths are the most vulnerable to abuse of hard drugs and this brings a lot of adverse effects on the community.
According to Nathaniel (2014), the sociological implications of drug abuse among Nigerian youths have been a major threat to the peaceful co-existence of all and sundry in our contemporary society, political dignity, personality and integrity of dependence of life. The health hazard arising from drug consumption, be it cannabis or any of the psychotropic drugs, is incredible. The aspect of silently loosing able young men and women as a result of trafficking in foreign countries where death sentence or capital punishment is given concerning drugs is not doing Nigeria any good (Edem 2013). Association with peer group is believed to have a causal relationship with delinquent acts such as drug addiction, smoking and alcoholism. Peer group contributes to character formation, be it normal or abnormal (anti social). In order to feel a sense of belonging, they have to conform and live up to their unwritten code and dressing code (Edem, 2013).
In Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, youth involvement in drug abuse is very rampant (Edem, 2013). Drug abuse does not only cause physical disabilities and diseases but also create behavioural, emotional and psychological problems in addicts. There is an increase fear among community residents as youths who are expected to be of good behaviour are found in high numbers involving in the sale and use of hard drugs. Drug abuse affects each and every one of us, either directly or indirectly; in our families, in our schools in our work places in our communities and towns or cities.
Drug abuse is unhelpful. It has a grave consequence for the individual and society. Drug abuse in whatever form is considered unacceptable, unlawful, forbidden and a criminal offence in Nigeria. Therefore, this work is designed to explore the correlation between drug abuse and youth involvement in road accidents; to examine the effect of drug abuse on the mental health of youths and to examine how drug abuse among youths engender family crisis.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The purpose of the study is to examine the effect of drug abuse among youths in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Specifically, the following objectives will guide the study.
1. To explore the association between drug abuse and youth involvement in road accidents.
2. To explore the effect of drug abuse in the mental health of youths.
3. To find out how drug abuse among youth engender family crisis.
4. To suggest possible solution to the problem of drug abuse on youths.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study is concerned with drug abuse among youths in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Findings from the study will contribute to already existing body of knowledge on drug abuse and youths development. Specifically, the following significance will be drawn from the study.
1. This study will unveil what drug abuse has caused youths of Oruk Anam Local Government Area and the society at large.
2. Recommendations made at the end of this study will also enable government to formulate policies and take decisions that will succinctly address the problem of drug abuse among youths in our society.
3. The study will also create measures that will curb the incessant drug abuse. The result of this research will encourage further investigation in the area of drug abuse.
4. The study will also serve as a reference material for further studies on drug abuse which will give youths the right path to life.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
1. Ho: There is no significant relationship between drug abuse and mental health of youths.
2. Ho: There is no significant relationship between drug abuse and youth involvement in road accidents.
3. Ho: There is no significant relationship between drug abuse and family crises.
1.6 Scope/Limitation of the Study
This research is focused on drug abuse among youths in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. The study will cover (9) districts in Oruk Anam Local Government Area (Inen, Obio Akpa, Ibesit Nung Ikot, Nung Ikot, Nung Ita, Ndot, Ibesit and Ekparakwa). The study is limited to youths within the (9) districts of in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
1.7 Definition of Terms
For the purpose of proper understanding and clarification of terms and concepts, this section becomes a very important facet of the research report. Hence, definitions have to be operationally.
- Drug: This is a substance other than those required for the maintenance of normal health which on administration alters biological function. For example substances like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroin etc.
- Drug Abuse: Drug abuse refers to the use of a licit and illicit drug in ways that deviate from the norms of its usage in group or society, if the self administration is adjudged to be harmful or excessive. This pattern of usage is usually identified on the basis of quantity taken frequency of use and the context or social situation in which the drug is taken (Yamaguchi 1991; NDLEA 1993)
- Drug Addiction This refers to a state of having surrendered to a habit of drug abuse. The person involved has the conviction that without the substance of addiction he/she cannot survive, and a serious effort will be made to reinforce the sense of well being derived from the substance.
- Youths: Refers to a period in life which a person is moving from children to manhood/womanhood. It is during this period that the use of drugs is most appealing. Also youths are always eager to change their moods and would readily experiment with drugs. (Coleman, 1961:460).
- Psychoactive Drugs: These are drugs whose toxicities or abuse potentials outweigh their medical uses, hence their production, distribution and sale are seriously controlled or out rightly banned