The study was designed to determine prevalence and patterns of Psychoactive Substance use
among Senior Secondary School Students in Dala Local Government Area (LGA), Kano
State Nigeria. The study adopted a cross sectional descriptive survey design. Simple random
sampling procedure was used to select two Secondary Schools out of the ten Government
Senior Secondary School in Dala LGA, of Kano State. Both Schools have a combined
population of 2293 students made up 1202 boys and 1096 girls. The two Schools sample
were Government Secondary School Kurna Asabe for boys and Government Senior
Secondary School Kuka bulukiya for girls. The instrument for Data collection was a WHO
Youth Drug Survey (WHOYDSQ) adapted questionnaire. The reliability of the instrument
was established using a test re-test and computed using Pearson Moment Correlation.
Coefficient of 0.82 was obtained. Data generated was subjected to descriptive statistics and
analysed using Chi-square. The prevalence of psychoactive substance use among
Government Senior Secondary School in Dala LGA, of Kano State shows that majority
(91.1%) of the respondents have been using psychoactive substances. The commonest
substances used were kola nut (87.4%), tobacco (15%) and cannabis (5.5%). more than half
of the users of each of the substances take it occasionally, using them on one to five days in a
month except kolanut taken on twenty or more days in a month. They include male (52.9%),
female (47.1%). Majority (68.1%) of the respondents were between 18-20 years. Most of the
respondents who use psychoactive substances were introduced by their friends (60.6%),
family (27.6%) and by nobody (5.7%). Most (27.9%) first use kolanut at the age less than 10
years, alcoholic beverages at the age of 11-12years (25.6%) while others like tobacco,
cannabis at 19-and above years (38.3%). Major reasons for using psychoactive substance
include to be sociable (25.4%) and for enjoyment (24.4%). There was significant difference
(p < 0.05) between Males and females in psychoactive substance use. The pattern of use is
dependent on the type of psychoactive substances (p < 0.05). Also the psychoactive
substances use based on lifetime use is dependent on the age at first use (p < 0.05). In
conclusion the prevalence of substance abuse among Senior Secondary School students is
high as such Government, Parents and Teachers needs to joint hands and address the
Background to the Study
Psychoactive Substance use and dependence cause a significant burden to the individuals and
societies throughout the world. The World Health Report (2010) indicated that 8.9% of the
total burden of disease comes from the use of psychoactive substances. The report showed
that tobacco accounted for 4.1%, alcohol 4%, and illicit drugs 0.8% of the burden of disease
in 2010. Much of the burden attributable to substance use and dependence is the result of a
wide variety of health and social problems. Data from the (World Health Organization, 2011)
show large-scale seizures of cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants in
different parts of the world. Availability of cocaine, heroin and cannabis depends on the level
of cultivation in source countries and on the success or failure of trafficking organizations.
However, even with increased levels of law enforcement activities, there always seems to be
enough available to users. According to (UNODC, 2011) estimates show that about 200
million people make illicit use of one type of illicit substance or another.
Psychoactive substance use is a social problem that has spread and increased rapidly in
educational institutions especially among secondary school students (Neeraja, 2011). This
social problem is considered an issue of serious concern as it adversely affects the lives and
performance of students involved as well as the harmonious functioning of the entire
structure of the society. Use of psychoactive drugs and other associated problems are inimical
to the survival and effective functioning of human societies. A significant number of
untimely deaths and accidents have been linked to the activities of persons under the
influence of one psychoactive drug or the other (Shelly, 2010).
Drug abuse is viewed by different authorities in various forms. Neeraja (2011) defined
substance abuse as the dependence on a drug or other chemical substances leading to the
effect that are detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health or the welfare of
others. According to Smelzer, Bare, Hinkle, and Cheever (2008) substance abuse is a
maladaptive pattern of drug use that causes physical and emotional harm with the potential
for disruption of daily life. From these definitions, it can be deduced that substance abuse is
the misuse of one or more drugs which could be prescribed by a health practitioner with the
intention to alter the way one feels, thinks or behaves and it is associated with consequences
which include physical and emotional harm to the person.
The African Symposium (2010) viewed substance abuse as the improper use or application of
drugs by a person without proper knowledge of the drugs and without due prescription from a
qualified medical practitioner. This definition focuses on psychoactive drugs. All drugs can
be abused to an extent that it turns into addiction when the drug user is unable to stop the use
of the drugs despite the harmful effects on the user’s social, personal and economic lives. The
problem of substance abuse is so grave that though it was originally conceived as the problem
of a ‘select few’, it has extended beyond the usual characteristics of abusers being males,
adults and urban based people, to now include females, youngsters and rural dwellers (Rocha,
2009). These abusers erroneously believe that drugs enhance their performance, put them in
good mood etc. The accompanying problems of this act constitute a major threat to the wellbeing
of the society (Ajala, 2009).
The youths in Nigeria like many countries of the world are increasingly developing addiction
to psychoactive substances. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA, 2011)
collected drugs use and abuse data from schools, records of patients admitted at mental health
institutions for drug problems and interview of persons arrested for drug offences. The result
showed that youths constitute the high risk group for drug trafficking and abuse. Friends and
school mates account for about 90% of the source of influence of the use and abuse of
various psychoactive substances. In Nigeria, alcohol and cigarette are legal substances but,
the two have been discovered to cause physical damage to human bodies. It has been reported
that smoking tobacco causes 90.0% of lung cancer, 30.0% of all cancers, and 80.0% of other
chronic lung diseases (Sale 2008). Apart from these health implications, according to Stephen
(2010), alcohol and cigarette are said to be “gateway drugs” to other more potent
psychoactive drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
The future of any community, society, state or nation is tied to the character of the adolescent
in that particular place, area or locality. It is also said that “The youth are the leaders of
tomorrow”. Therefore responsible youth in the society indicates responsible and brighter
future of that society and also the reverse is the case.
In our society people are known to have had problems that had made them to adopt various
measures to cope with such problems and live successfully within the confines of societal
normative values. While some people take solace in lawful ways others resort to unlawful
and unhealthy measures such as the use of drugs or psychoactive substances to the extent of
abusing them, hence resulting in addiction. According to Edum (2006) the adolescent in our
society are not left out in this, as they are either influenced by peer group while others do so
because of the easy availability of the abused substances, others also watch on television and
films and some read in books and so try to experiment to experience the effects. The effects
of specific psychoactive substance vary depending on their mechanism of action, the amount
consumed and the history of the user among other factors.
An ugly fact that is with us in the recent time is road traffic accident related to psychoactive
substance use as well as increased crime rate in Nigeria, though a number of measures are put
in place to check this menace. This includes the establishment of the National Drug Law
Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) through Degree 48 of 1989 and 33 of 1990. However, in
spite of these measures people especially the adolescents continue to use psychoactive drugs
illicitly with its attendant problems.
Kano state is the most populated state in Northern Nigeria (NPC, 2006). The use of
psychoactive Substance in this state is the order of the day, evidence by increase in crimes of
different nature, failure at examination, abandoning school and poor performance in all
aspects of life etc.
Dala local government is the largest, most populated local government Area of Kano State.
One myth about the youth and adolescents in Dala local government is drug and substance
use evidently shown by increase in crime, abandoning and inconsistencies in school, as well
as failure in examination. These reasons encouraged and motivated the desire to investigate
the prevalence and pattern of psychoactive substance use among the senior government
secondary school students of the largest local government area in the middle of Kano City,
Dala Local Government Area of Kano State, Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
Substance use is not a strange phenomenon; the global, regional and national dimension of it
are documented. It is in recognition of the complexity of the problem that 26th June of every
year has been declared as the International Day Against Abuse and illicit trafficking by
United Nations. In its June, 2003 report, the United Nations Children and Education Fund
(UNICEF) stated that the problem of HIV/AIDS is inextricably connected to a range of
problems, among which is drug abuse among children and young people. Similarly, the
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) pointed out that drug abuse among
“area boys” in Nigeria has been reported as the cause of delinquent behaviours and crime.
The World Health Organization (WHO, 2010) believes that young people are more
vulnerable to suffering physical, emotional and social harm from their own or other people’s
drug use. It also identifies strong links between the high rate of drinking, violent sexual
behaviour, traffic and other accidents and drug use. In relation to tobacco, World Health
Organization also estimates that about 250 million children and adolescents who live in
developing countries like Nigeria are likely to be killed by tobacco (Stephen, 2010).
The United Nations office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) partly attributes the prevalence of
drug use in Nigeria to street hawking of drugs and pharmaceutical preparation. The
prevalence rate of adolescent’s substance and drug abuse in our society poses a great concern
to health care providers as some end up as addicts. This is quite substantial in Kano state.
According to NDLEA (2010) reports, Kano State is the highest in terms of people arrested
with the case of drug trafficking’ and suspected drug addicts (638 arrested suspects) followed
by Katsina (411) and Rivers (347) etc.
According to NDLEA (2010) most of the people arrested in Kano state for drug addicts and
trafficking are from Dala local government and neighboring communities and majority
constitutes secondary school drop outs. Therefore based on the foregoing reasons, the
researcher deemed it necessary to determine the prevalence and patterns of psychoactive
substance use among the senior secondary school students in Dala LGA, Kano State Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to determine the prevalence and pattern of psychoactive
substance use among Government senior secondary school students in Dala LGA of Kano
The Specific Objectives are to
1. Identify the characteristics of students who use identified substances
2. Establish the prevalence of substance use among the senior secondary school students
in Dala Local Government.
3. Identify the patterns of substance use among the senior secondary students.
4. Identify the substances commonly used by the Senior Secondary students
5. Identify the sources of influence of drug use among secondary school Students
6. Determine the age of onset of substance use among secondary school student
7. Identify the reasons why senior secondary school students use drugs
1. What are the characteristics of students who abuse drugs?
2. What is the prevalence rate of psychoactive substance use among the senior secondary
school students in Dala Local Government, Kano State?
3. What are the patterns of substance use among senior secondary school students?
4. What are the substances commonly used by the senior secondary school students?
5. What are the sources of influence of drug use among senior secondary school in Dala?
6. What is the age of onset of substance use among secondary school student in Dala
7. What are the reasons senior secondary school students used drugs?
1. There is no significant difference between Male and Female in secondary school in drug
2. There is no significant difference in pattern of drug abuse in days per month based on
3. There is no significant relationship of respondents age range at the first use based on
life time use of psychoactive
Significance of the Study
The present study will reveal the prevalence, pattern, types and sources of psychoactive
substances used by secondary school children. It will also reveal the characteristics of the
students who use drugs and the problems students encounter as a result of drug use. These
findings are essential as they will help in understanding the overall social, academic and drug
problems of the students and youth in Kano state.
This finding would be useful to the parents, teachers, police and the drug law enforcement
agency (NDLEA) as well as other bodies concerned with checking drug abuse problems in
Dala LGA of Kano state and Nigeria at large. The findings will provide a source of reference
for intervention programmes in Kano state.
It is also hoped that the findings of this study will be useful for social monitoring and alerting
people to the signs of Substance use so as to enable early diagnosis and treatment of affected
persons. It will also assist in planning of preventive strategies for substance use in our
secondary schools across the country.
The finding of this study will be useful to future researchers on the topic, as they will build
on the strength and limitations of the study. And the finding of the study may spur them to
form anti-psychoactive substance use clubs and associations. The activities of these groups
can reach the wider society and will assist in curbing the menace of substance abuse in Dala
LGA, Kano State and the country at large. The present study wills no doubt, spur interest for
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is delimited to on Government Senior Secondary School Students in
Dala LGA of Kano State. The study will be delimited to prevalence and pattern of
psychoactive substance use among Government Senior secondary school student in Dala
LGA, Kano state.
Operational Definition of Terms
· Psychoactive Substance: This refers to any substance which may be a drug or not but
has the property of altering the mood in form of stimulation or distortion of
· Psychoactive substance use refers to the use of any substance which may be drugs or
not that has the property of altering the mood in form of stimulation or distortion of
· Drug Abuse- refers to the illegal or excessive drug use; deliberate use of an illegal
drug or of too much of a prescribed drugs
· Prevalence of psychoactive substance use: refers to the proportion of a population
found to have used a psychoactive substance or drugs.
· Pattern of psychoactive substance use: Is the process addicts use which include
Modes of Taking, frequencies and Style of psychoactive substance abuse etc
· Source of influence: Those factors that introduce student to the drugs or substance use
e.g peer group, family etc.
· Secondary school students: Are students in the second phase of secondary education
of 6-3-3-4 education system in Nigeria who finishes primary school.
· Senior Secondary School Students refers to the students in SSI, SSII and SSIII of
secondary school education system in Nigeria.
· Non Medical drug use this is improper or illegal use of drugs or taking it in excessive
doses without any medical reasons.