Factors affecting the management of substance use disorders: Evidence from selected service users in Bayelsa State
The need for effective substance use management in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria generally, and Bayelsa state in particular, is necessitated by the widespread and often unregulated use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances, leading to high incidence of substance use disorders in the area. This paper explored the various factors militating against the effective management of substance use disorders in Bayelsa state with a view to drawing attention to the issues and, consequently, alleviating the conditions of the affected people through appropriate policies and interventions. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with selected service users. Barriers to the management of substance use disorders included the following: perceived high costs of service, accessibility and its associated costs, unavailability of specialized centers and facilities to manage substance use disorders, manpower shortage occasioning unnecessarily long waiting time, attitudinal problems, cultural issues resulting in relapse, perceived stigma, shame and discrimination. Findings of the study highlighted the need for adequate substance abuse management facilities to be put in the state. More professionals, especially psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, are needed to attend to the swelling number of patients presenting with these problems. Relevant policies and intervention should target the underlying socio-cultural issues in order to ensure greater effectiveness of interventions.
Keywords: Substance use disorders, Nigeria, Bayelsa State, barriers to drug treatment, treatment policy