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Pattern of psychoactive substance use in the northern region of Nigeria

F Abasiubong
JA Udobang
AU Idung
SB Udoh
HE Jombo


Recent events in Nigeria seem to suggest that young people are being indoctrinated and used under the influence of psychoactive substances to perpetrate various crimes including terrorism. There is need to examine and control use of these substances in order to prevent escalation of these social maladies. The purpose of this study was to assess the pattern of psychoactive substance use among inmates at Kiru Rehabilitation Centre, Kano in the North Central Region of Nigeria, to determine the extent of their involvement. A total of 148 male inmates completed a modified form of 117-item self-report instrument based on the World Health Organization guidelines for students’ substance-use surveys. The mean age of the inmates was 23.7±3.9 years. A total of 58.9% had primary school and below level of education; 14.9% were school dropped-out; 29.1% unemployed; while 65.9% were engaged in menial jobs. The lifetime prevalence of psychoactive substance use was 47.4%.Current use prevalence of more than one substance was 54.6%. Ready available substances were consumed more and the potent habit-forming ones like Cocaine and Heroin were used more than alcohol. Uses of inhalants were also on the increase. Reasons for use of substances were ready availability, feeling high, enhancing performance and unidentified personal problems. This study has shown that psychoactive substances are commonly used and abused, especially among the uneducated youths in the Northern part of Nigeria. There is need for massive enlightenment campaigns to increase awareness and strategies aimed at discouraging youths from indulging in substances.

Key Words: Alcohol; Psychoactive substances; Youths; Northern Nigeria