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Survey of drug use among young people in Ife, Nigeria

MO Afolabi
AE Ayilara
OA Akinyemi
OJ Ola-Olorun


The objectives of this study were to identify various drugs used by adolescents, the prevalence of such practices and the factors that influence in-school adolescents to use drugs. The study was conducted in the four local government areas of Ile-Ife, South-Western Nigeria, with a total
of 800 senior secondary school students. Permission for the survey and consent were obtained from appropriate school authorities. Relevant data were obtained using a modified version of a questionnaire designed by the United Nations for conducting school surveys on drug abuse. The toolkit had been previously validated in Nigeria. The questionnaire items solicited information on students’ drug use practices including the types of drugs, sources, frequency of administration and reasons for drug use. Students most widely used caffeine (19.8%), alcohol (5.6%), cigarette (6.3%) and occasionally marijuana (0.4%) as psychoactive substances. The substances were obtained from open drug market (23.5%), peers (5.2%) and village drug hawkers (0.6%). Reasons for drug use included; to keep awake (22.2%) to experience high feelings (21.8%), for body building (14.1%) and to moderate appetite (11.9%). The drugs were used mostly anytime and mainly by oral route of administration. There was a high frequency of psychotropic drug use among the students with caffeine being the most widely used. Drug use by the youths could be attributed to psychosocial perceptions of self need and peer influence.

Key Words: Drug use, psychoactive substance abuse, secondary schools, adolescents