Patterns and determinants of alcohol use among Nigerian university students: an overview of recent developments
Use of licit and illicit drugs among students is a growing global phenomenon. Studies from different western countries reveal that students use and misuse substances such as alcohol and tobacco more than non-students. In Nigeria, cultural restraints prevented young people from consuming alcohol in the traditional era. However, recent studies show that many now consume alcohol and other substances in harmful ways. Findings from this recent literature indicate that while some Nigerian university students use alcohol to enhance sexual performance, boost confidence and reduce stress, others use heavy episodic drinking as means of constructing social identity. Other findings reveal that a majority combine alcohol with other drugs and that anxiety, depression, injury to self and others and failing examinations are some of the alcohol-related problems among users. It can be argued that factors such as lack of policy, aggressive advertisements, brewer-sponsored promotions and sponsorship of youth-oriented programmes are some of the facilitators of students’ alcohol use. The paper discusses the implications of these developments for contemporary Nigerian society and recommends that alcohol policies should be formulated and implemented.
Keywords: alcohol misuse, alcohol-related problems, determinants of alcohol use, Nigerian university students, patterns of alcohol use