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Drug-recidivism nexus in Nigeria: A sociological criminology perspective

Macpherson Uchenna Nnam
John Aja O’Brien Chukwu
James Edem Efong
Gilbert Enyidah-Okey Ordu


The vast majority of studies that examine the drug-recidivism nexus are generally found in the Western literature, while the scholarship has received comparatvely far less atenton in Nigeria, despite its pervasiveness. This gap in knowledge calls for frst, a theoretcal discourse, and later, data-based studies on the interplay between substance use and recidivism. Guided by sociological criminology perspectve, we applied multdisciplinary approach (i.e. an integraton of economic, psychosocial, sociological, medical/physiological and criminological thoughts, concepts, variables, constructs, models, and theories) to examine the problem. From the review, it was found that illicit substance use inhibits the pathways to criminal desistance (aging out of crime) and heightens the trajectories to criminal persistence (recidivism). That is, it amplifes the tendency for individuals to take a long career in crime and at the same tme causes them to persist in crime to get money to sustain their drug culture. This shows that the outcome of drug-recidivism interactons is mixed or perhaps unclear in terms of a partcular variable that signifcantly infuence the occurrence of the other. It is therefore, suggested that further studies in Nigeria be focused on developing a more robust methodologies and survey instruments for generatng quanttatve or qualitatve data, or a combinaton of both methods. The aim is bidirectonal: frstly, is to establish a more scientfc basis for a clearer understanding of the two variables for accurate predictons and generalisaton. Secondly, it stands to direct the paths to formulatng treatmentbased (against the widespread punishment-oriented) policy and practce on drugs and recidivism, with primary focus on legal, social, economic, medical/physiological and psychological harm reducton as well as prison decongeston.

Keywords: Drugs, Nexus, Recidivism, Nigeria, Sociological Criminology Perspectve