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Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs and motivation for change among street youth in Kano, Nigeria

Helen O. Osinowo
Samson F. Agberotimi
Shehu Abubakar
Idris S. Rogo
Anuoluwapo O. Opayinka


Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs among the young Nigerian population is an increasing public health concern. There is a dire need for a  robust understanding of the problem as well as factors affecting behaviour change. This study investigated factors influencing non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs, consequences, and motivation to stop use among street youth in Kano, Nigeria. Twenty-nine street youth selected through the snowballing sampling technique were involved in focus group discussions. Participants aged between 18 and 29 years. Sensation seeking, mood-altering, confidence, and energy boost were upheld as the major reasons for drug use; while poor health outcomes, financial problems, and  interpersonal dysfunction were the main consequences discussed by the focus group. Many of the participants indicated the intention to stop drug use but expressed concern about difficulties in accessing treatment. Preventive and psycho-social treatment measures for non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs targeting this group should be made accessible and affordable.

Keywords: motivation for change, non-medical use, pharmaceutical drugs, street youth