Pattern of Substance Abuse among Clients at a Drug Treatment Centre in Jos: A 5-year Prospective Study
Background: Substance abuse is a worldwide problem and public health issue with attendant health, social, and economic consequences. However, the types of substances and pattern of abuse vary from place to place and with time.
Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the pattern of substance use with the specific objectives of determining the sociodemographic profile of clients and to determine the type of substances abused.
Methods: All clients who consented to treatment at the Substance Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, Vom between 2007 and 2011 were recruited consecutively throughout the period of study. They all had a standard psychiatric interview, and all their substance use information was recorded. They were also further assessed with the Treatnet Addiction Severity Index (ASI), MMPI-2™ and had urine toxicology carried out to determine the type of substances used as well as other laboratory investigations. The diagnosis was made from information gathered from interview and clinical investigations throughout the duration of treatment according to ICD-10 (RDC).
Results: A total of 345 clients were treated. There was a preponderance of males, 333 (96.5%) who were mainly single, 288 (83.5%) and Christians, 320 (92,8%). All had some form of formal education with 214(62.0%) educated beyond secondary school. The unemployed were the majority, 247 (71.6%) followed by students,164 (47.5% ). The mean age of onset was 18.1± 6.3 and the mean age of the sample was 29.7 ± 9.3years. Majority, 193 (56.0%) were within the age group 20 -29 years. The commonest substance of abuse was alcohol, 287 (83.2%) followed by cigarette, 240 (69.6%) and cannabis, 225( 65.2%) . A great majority of the subjects were multiple substance abusers, 281(81.4%); and the commonest combination of substances was that of alcohol, cigarette and marijuana, 93 (27.0%); followed by combination of alcohol and cigarette, 48 (13.9%). More than two thirds of clients, 241(69.9%) were dependent on various substances with 99 (28.7%) dependent on alcohol only.
Conclusion: Substance abuse occurred predominantly in young males of low socioeconomic status and began early in life. Majority of clients used multiple substances and most were dependent in various substances. This has great health and socioeconomic consequences. We recommend coordinated efforts among Government, Communities and Non - Governmental Organizations to provide health education and counseling in schools and communities, include substance abuse education and treatment in all health institutions and provide more treatment and rehabilitation centres in order to improve quality of life.
Key words: Pattern, substance abuse, clients.