AN EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS
The study examines the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of Benue State University students. With the following specific set objectives: to find out the level of drug abuse among BSU students, to ascertain the types of drugs that are mostly abuse among students of Benue State University, the causes of drug abuse among students of Benue State University, the effect of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University and possible solutions to the menace of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University. The theoretical framework adopted was on differential association theory and structural strain theory. The study was a descriptive survey research. Findings from this study revealed that, majority of the respondents believe the level of drug abuse among students of Benue State University is moderate. On the drugs that are mostly abuse by students of Benue State University, the study findings reveals that, majority of the respondents believe that alcohol is the most common type of drug abuse by students of Benue State University. On the causes of drug abuse among students of Benue State University, study results shows that, majority of the respondents believe peer pressure is the cause of drug abuse among students of Benue State University. On the effects of drug abuse among students in Benue State University. The findings revealed that, majority of the respondents believe examination malpractice is the effect of drug abuse among students of Benue State University. On possible solutions to the menace of drug abuse among Undergraduate Students of Benue State University. The result findings indicates that, majority of the respondents believe proper orientation of students can help solve the problem of drug abuse among students of Benue State University. Base on the results of the study, it concludes that, Drugs are a source of medication and treatment for various illness and preventive disease if properly prescribe by medical professionals. But drugs wrongly use without medication prescription has negative consequences for the academic, social, psychological and physical development of students. Furthermore, the study recommends that there should be proper orientation of students on the dangers associated with drug abuse. This should be embark upon by departmental heads, student union government and all registered associations and clubs on campus in their orientation programmes organize for fresher’s as this will enable them avoid the take of illicit drugs. Also, counselling services should be provided by counselling unit of our Nations institutions of higher learning to students already addicted with the social problem of drug abuse in order to reduce the level of their intake and help them recover from its effects on their academic loss.
Background to the Study
Since the early times, herbs, leaves and plants inform of drugs have been used to heal and control diseases. Plants have been utilized as medicines for thousands of years. The specific plants to be used and the methods of application for particular ailments were passed down through oral history from generation to generation (Samuelsson, 2004).
The use of drugs in itself does not constitute any danger, because drugs correctly administered have been a blessing. Falco (1988) as cited by Sambo (2008) asserts that, chronic use of substances can cause serious irreversible damage to adolescent’s physical and psychological development. The use of drugs could be beneficial or harmful depending on the mode of use.
Apart from knowing the harmful effects of substance abuse, various studies have pointed out that among the reasons students abuse drugs are: for experimental purpose, curiosity, peer and family influence, lack of parental supervision, personality problems, socioeconomic issues, need for extra energy for work, to build up confidence, frustration, to achieve happiness, to reduce fear, drug availability, need to maintain drug habit in order to avoid withdrawal syndrome, to feel good, to relieve stress, to sleep, to keep awake, to enhance sexual performance, age, unemployment, poverty, and for no reason. With the increasing rate of substance abuse, an increasing rate of violence has been observed among high school and university students.
Among the highest in the drugs abused by undergraduates in a northern Nigerian university, are: cigarette, brewed alcohol, locally brewed alcohol, kola nut, aspirin and cannabis (Essien, 2010).
Cannabis is by far the most commonly used illicit drug among world population followed by tobacco (Essien, 2010). In the United Kingdom, cross-sectional studies have shown that a substantial number of students used illicit drugs, mainly cannabis, at some time during their lives (Oshodi, Aina & Onajole 2010).
The motive behind drug abuse may be sociological, psychological, out of curiosity, boredom, to alleviate fear, derive sexual and physical pleasures, or family background. Despite the fact that drug abuse has adverse effects on the youths by changing their brain perception of difficulties and problems, the number of undergraduates that use or abuse stimulants has steadily increased in recent years (Alan, 2003).
Also, some University students who experience dissatisfaction with life due to anger, frustration, academic failure and boredom, consume alcohol to fit in and serve as a consolation. This invariably affects their academic performance hence hours that should be use for study are diverted to rest and sleep after its consumption (Alan, 2003).
Efforts of Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other governmental agencies to stem the tide of drug abuse in Nigeria has been meet with stiff resistance of users at different places across the nation thereby increasing the incidence of drug abuse cases in spite of their continued and destruction of such illicit drugs, the rapid rise in the number of cases of drug abuse among youths whom are mostly students is still on the increase. (Akinyemi 2008). Hence the need for the present study which is to determine the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of Benue State University students.
1.2 Statement of the problem
A report by National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC (2008) noted that the abuse of licit and illicit drugs is forming a student sub-culture in Nigeria. This development is a significant concern for Nigerian society. When a drug is abused it causes injury to the brain and often irreversible alterations in the central nervous systems. When psychoactive substances destroy several thousand neurons, the consequences are fatal and a number of students end up under performing in their academics when under the control of this mode stimulating and controlling substance and some have died from drug overdoses (Ekpenyong, 2012).
The increasing availability of a variety of drugs to an ever widening socio-economic spectrum of consumers is disconcerting. Prescription and over the counter buying of drugs are abused when taken without the specified medical condition and proper prescription. Some of these drugs can be mood elevators, pain killers or antidepressants.
Prescription drugs are drugs that are certify by a medical practitioner as a source of cure for ailment.
Drug abuse has negative impact on the education of students all over the world. 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). Drug abuse has thus become a national concern in Nigeria, given its impacts on education and future leadership, innovations and human resources. Students are particularly at risk given that they are in their formative years of education, career development, social skills and identity formation
Despite National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC/NDLEA and other organization-based interventions, drug abuse is on the rise with over 40% of students abusing various types of drugs (Ekpenyong, 2012). Drug abuse appears to be a well entrenched behaviour among students. Drug abuse has become a threat to the lives and success of the youth. This is evidently a source of sorrow to parents, guardians and relatives. It is also a big challenge to the whole nation. Substance and drug abuse affect academic performance and mental health, cause physiological and psychiatric disturbances and have been perceived to be the major cause in poor academic performance of students, physical health problem, poor finance, emotional problems, memory impairment, risk factor for most chronic diseases, problems with family relationships and so forth.
The consequence of chewing kola nut, taking bland coffee and other substances that enhance one to stay awake at night could lead to addiction and substance abuse which may result in negative health implications and adversely affect performance in examination contrary to the expectation of students who take it to stay awake and read at night. Drug abuse has some educational, social, economic, psychological, cultural, physical and moral health consequences that may lead to low academic performance, poverty, disability, maladjustment or death of the abusers. Its use aid crime rate, cultism, mental illness, low self-esteem and self-respect, injuries to one’s health, becoming a social outcast, bringing shame to their kin and low academic performance and in some instances complete withdrawal
The present study is aimed at investigating the effect of drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students of Benue State University Makurdi. Literature review by (Ekpenyong, 2012; Larissa et al 2013; & Johnston et al 2003) has shown that studies has been conducted on the effect of drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students in developed countries and even in other parts of Nigeria and Benue State in the time past. Beside, some literatures have shown contradictory views regarding the effect of drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students as other studies found a negative effect of drug abuse on academic performance while other studies found no effect of drug abuse on academic performance of undergraduate students.
It is therefore due to the lack of current research regarding the subject matter in the area of the study as well as the contradictory view regarding the findings that the present research seeks to explore the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of Benue State University students.
1.3 Research Questions
The general research question is what are the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of undergraduate students? The specific questions are:
What is the level of drug abuse among BSU students?
What are the reasons that propel students to engage in drug abuse?
What are the types of drugs commonly abused by undergraduate students of Benue State University?
What are the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of undergraduate students of Benue State University?
What are the possible solutions of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University Makurdi?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this research is to determine the effects of drug abuse on academic performance of undergraduate students of Benue State University, Makurdi. Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
Determine the level of drug abuse among BSU students Examine the drugs that are mostly abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University.
Ascertain the causes of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University.
To investigate the effect of drug abuse among undergraduate students in Benue State University.
To proffer possible solutions to the menace of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University.