This is the opening chapter of this research. It embodies the background to
the study, statement of problem, purpose of study, research questions,
research hypothesis, significance of study, scope and limitation and
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Drug taking has always been with us. Ndika (1982) observed that man‟s
experience with drugs is rooted in antiquity, it echoed out of the primate
jungle but its only in recent time that the transformation of drugs and their
users from an unverified tradition to science became possible.
Indeed, today, more than ever before, we live in what can be called a drug
taken culture, aspirin, sleeping pills, cough mixtures, antibiotics, tea,
coffee, cocoa, cigarettes and wines are but a few familiar drugs which are
commonly used in our contemporary society. Few terms appear more
commonly and with more confusing or misleading meanings than drug,
drug use, drug misuse, drug abuse and drug addiction. Yet, we have to
know quite clearly what these terms mean so that true communication and
understanding can take place.
The term „drug‟ in the main, would be related to “any substance that, when
taken into a living organism, may modify one or more of its functions”
(Kobiowu 2006). In her opinion, Badejo (1998) views drug as any
substance of medicinal preparation which has effect on living tissues. She
also added that drug is anything that goes into the body and modifies one
or more of its function. Bolarin and Badejo (1998) also posit that every
drug is a potential poison depending on the way it is used. Drug can be
used when they are put to normal use which implies that they are used
according to the doctor‟s prescription. In contrast, drug misuse occurs
when a drug is taken in excess or underdose or where no medical reason
In technical terms, Kobiowu (2006) defines drug abuse as “a particular
application of a drug more destructive than constructive for society or the
individual”. Also, Lahey (2004) views drug abuse as “any drug that causes
physical functioning”. Explicitly, Omokhodion and Pemede (2005) explain
drug abuse as “the use of drug other than for medical purposes”. They also
claim that drug abusers are generally seeking some form of mental escape
when they start abusing drug and this is the dependence on psychotropic
drugs. While psychotropic drugs are mind-altering drugs (Omokhodion
and Pemede 2005).
In the same vein, Bolarin & Badejo (1998) observes that drug abuse is the
inappropriate or unofficial excessive use of psychotropic drugs.
Psychotropic drugs are also known as psychoactive drugs and are defined
as “drugs which alter sensation, mood, conscious experience or other
psychological or behavioural functions (Carroll, 2000).
To put it succinctly, psychotropic drugs are chemical substances that
change the perceptions, feelings and behavior of an organism. The extent
of these changes depend on the nature of the ingested substance, the
amount present in the body, the rate and speed of administration and the
psychological state of individuals.
Omokhodion and Pemede (2005) have observed that psychotropic drugs
are mind altering drugs and that after a while; the continued use of
psychotropic drugs may become a habit, which results to drug dependence
and ultimately turns the user to a drug abuser. The most common types of
psychotropic drugs that are abused include, heroin, alcohol, cocaine,
nicotine, caffeine, marijuana, opium cannabis Lysergic acid diethyl (LSD),
etc. Lahey (2004) classified psychotropic drugs into four different
(i) Depressant: it mutes the mental and physical activity in varying
degrees, depending on dosages and its type of drugs include heroin.
(ii) Stimulant: excite and sustain activity and diminish symptoms of
fatigue. Drugs in this category include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine,
(iii) Inhalants: are common household chemicals that are put to
dangerous use by being inhaled which produce feelings of
intoxication and drugs include cocaine.
(iv) Hallucinogens: produce dreamlike alterations in perpetual
experience and drugs in this category according to Marshall and
Robert (2001), include marijuana, hashish, LSD, etc.
It should be noted, as Mayo (2006) points out, “psychotropic drugs may
result to the user been hooked emotionally and psychologically and may
cause physical dependence, which leads to a drug addiction problem,
whether to a legal or illegal drug”. Mayo (2006) also added that the
individual wants to use the drug again and again and if it is stopped, there
are usually unpleasant physical reactions. Although, it is not everyone who
uses drug that becomes addicted, many people do.
From the above paragraph, drug addiction involves compulsively seeking
to use a substance, regardless of the potentially negative social,
psychological and physical consequences. Moreover, certain drugs, such
as narcotics and cocaine are more likely to cause physical dependence than
other drugs (Mayo 2006).
The use of psychotropic drugs seem to be an almost universal phenomenon
and has apparently occurred throughout recorded history in almost all
societies. Since pre-historical times, human being have different methods
of making life more pleasurable and to ease discomforts and frustrations
which inevitably accompany human existence. Three of the most
dangerous drugs known to man go back to historic times. They are opium,
hashish and cocaine.
Silverman (1978) points out that opium and hashish are usable products
and active ingredients which occur naturally in plants. Hashish was used to
prepare warriors for battle by primitive people and also for religious
purposes. Opium was used in China before the 19th century. Arabs,
Persians and Greeks, including the Egyptians have known and used opium
earlier and still use it medically. Chewing of cocoa leaves also enabled the
people of Andes and adjacent territory to perform extraordinary feats of
strength and endurance (WHO, 2002).
In Nigerian context, use of tobbacco had been claimed to be traditional. It
is known that the older generation smoke tobbacco as cigars or snuffers in
the locally made pipes. Alcohol was produced by fermenting cereal and
banana. A more ready source of alcohol was palm wine tapped from palm
tree (Kobiowu, 2006).
Kobiowu (2006) explained that little was known about hard drugs and
their usage in Nigeria in the 60s. However, as far back as 1973, an
expatriate staff at the University of Nigeria (NSUKKA), reported a
substance purported to be cocaine which was used by some students but
the authenticity of the substance was not precisely established. It was not
until May, 1983, when the Guardian Newspaper of Nigeria, first related
the story of arrival of a drug known variously in the United States of
America as „snow‟ or „angel‟ or „dust‟ that awareness began to rise
The ranges of effects of these classes of psychotropic drugs are enormous,
from mild relaxation to vivid hallucinations. Perhaps, even more
enormous, is the frequency of their use in our contemporary society. In
fact, more alarming, dampening and pathetic is the high rate of
involvement of secondary school students in the dependence on
psychotropic drugs and ultimately drug abuse.
In recent years, dependence on psychotropic drugs and delinquency have
grown in terrifying proportions among secondary school students in most
countries in the world and Nigeria, a developing nation is not an
exception. It is highly imperative that this scourge that is tearing our future
apart needs to be curbed or controlled to its bearest minimum. The United
Nations and Drug Abuse control (1992) has linked crime, learning
disabilities, incidences of school drop-outs and incidences of HIV/Aids to
the dependence on psychotropic drugs (Badejo, 2004).
Earlier studies by Okoh (1978), Oduaran (1979) and Johnson (1979),
which was cited by Kobiowu (2006) exhibit a plethora of purposes for
which student use drugs. The list includes curiosity, boldness, friends do it
enjoyment of social gatherings, academic pressure. In addition, Kobiowu
(2006) quoted the works of Asuni (1964) and Oviasu (1976) which had
revealed that majority of those who abuse psychoactive drugs in this
society are the Nigerian youths themselves.
The aforementioned prompted the topic of this research and we intend to
add our quota to the wide range of works on this issue. However, we
intend to bring uniqueness to this study by emphasising on the “Effects of
Dependence on Psychotropic Drugs on Students Attitude in School”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Dependence on psychotropic drugs is a very complex contemporary
phenomenon in most countries in the world and Nigeria a developing
nation is no exception to this. While some people see it from the
psychological point of view as part of Erikson‟s psycho-social
development and Maslow‟s need gratification theory, others perceive the
dependence on psychotropic drugs as societal malaise. That, it is socially
unacceptable in Nigeria is manifested in some anti-drug agencies formed
in the country, the creation of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
[NDLEA] is a vivid example. This shows the extent to which this menace
has assumed national importance. It is therefore an evil to be properly
watched, monitored and discouraged.
However, it is worrisome and appalling to discover that secondary school
students are also involved in the dependence on psychotropic drugs and
even its trade. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade raised an alarm that labourers used on
secret farms for cultivation of cannabis are mainly children of school age
Earlier, Xinhua News Agency (2004) posted on its website, the arrest of
16 drug traffickers with substance suspected to be cannabis, weighing 2-3
tons in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. Sadly
though, two of the drug traffickers arrested were secondary school
Gone are the days when people hide to abuse drugs, even secondary school
students put alcohol in their school bags and pockets to school. Primary
experience during teaching practice of the researcher have shown that this
menace has eaten deep into the fabric of our educational system and if the
government are serous about curbing or controlling this epidemic, it must
start from the post-primary level.
Badejo (2004) asserts that dependence on psychotropic drugs impede the
stability of a conducive learning atmosphere in schools and could be one
of the greatest threats to the survival of the educational system in Nigeria.
This implies that other social ills that are found in our educational system
are in one way or the other linked to the dependence on psychotropic
The above assertion was corroborated by the United Nations and Drug
Abuse Control Agency (1992) who have linked crime, learning
disabilities, incidences of school dropouts and Hiv/Aids to the dependence
on psychotropic drugs (Badejo, 2004).
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The broad aim of this study is to examine the effects of dependence on
psychotropic drugs on students‟ attitude in school. The research will also
focus on the major factors that cause the dependence on psychotropic
drugs among secondary school students.
In addition, this study will seek to know the level of awareness of the
negative consequences of dependence on psychotropic drugs among
secondary school students. The research will also try to provide
suggestions on workable solution of dependence on psychotropic drugs
In conclusion, the research will attempt to point out methods to assist
students who are dependent on psychotropic drugs and how to absorb them
into the school system and society at large.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
(i) Why do secondary school students depend on psychotropic drugs?
(ii) What are the effects of dependence on psychotropic drugs on
(iii) Are students who are dependent on psychotropic drugs aware of its
(iv) What are the probable solutions to this negative phenomenon?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H01: Learning disabilities and dependence on psychotropic drugs will not
have significant relationship among students
H02: Dependence on psychotropic drugs will not hinge on ignorance.
H03: Upholding moral societal values will not be a way out of students‟
dependence on psychotropic drugs.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The result of this study should provide basis for effective guidance to
parent and guardians, teachers, students, school administrators, educational
policy makers. The research should also:
(i) Curb students involvement in the dependence on psychotropic drugs
(ii) Alert students to the dangers of dependence on psychotropic drugs
(iii) Inculcate the right norms, values and attitudes in our students.
(iv) Create awareness in the already psychotropic drugs dependent
(v) Serve as a guide on how to assist psychotropic drugs students
(vi) Save the country from breeding psychotropic drugs dependents that
cannot be useful to themselves and society.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
Sometimes, a study of this nature is based on a wider sample area
involving secondary schools in Lagos state. But this, at times can be too
broad and unrealistic for an undergraduate research student. Also, due to
obvious impediments of time and financial constraints, the study may not
be given a wider and broader scope. These are greatly considered in this
research work and these influenced the design and approach adopted.
Apart from the limitations mentioned above, the researcher also
considered the difficulty of knowing the exact number of secondary school
students involved in dependence on psychotropic drugs and this is the
reason, we will be restricting our population and sample area to some
selected secondary school students in Ojo Local Government Area of
The study shall focus on drugs mainly used in Nigeria like Indian hemp,
nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, heroine, cocaine, opium and
cannabis. Samples will be collected from students who are dependent on
psychotropic drugs and school dropouts who may have vital information
for the success of this research.
1.8 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
At this juncture, an attempt shall be made to operationally define some key
concepts in this study. This is to make specific reference and application of
the concepts used during the course of this research easily understandable
(i) Depressant: mutes the mental and physical activity in vary degrees,
depending on dosages.
(ii) Drug: a chemical substance that may be swallowed, inhaled, rub on
the skin or injected, that goes into the body and modified one or
more or its function.
(iii) Drug Abuse: is the inappropriate or unofficial use of psychotropic
(iv) Drug Addiction: is a situation whereby an individual is completely
on the regular consumption of psychotropic drugs for pleasure or
(v) Drug Dependence: a state of psychic or psychical dependence or
both on a drug, following administration of the drug on a periodic or
(vi) Drug Misuse: is when a drug is taken in excess or underdose or
where no medical reason exists.
(vii) Drug use: this is when a drug is put to normal use, i.e. used
according to doctor prescription.
(viii) Hallucinogens: produce dreamlike alteration in perpetual
(ix) Inhalants: are common household chemicals that are put to
dangerous use by being inhaled which produce feeling of
(x) Psychotropic drugs: also known as psychoactive drugs are drugs
which alter sensation, mood, conscious experience or other
psychological behavioural functions.
(xi) Stimulants: excite and sustain activity and diminish symptoms of
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