Format: MS WORD |  Chapter: 1-5 |  Pages: 65-80



1.1   Background to the Study

Since the early times, herbs, leaves and plants inform of drugs have been used to heal and control diseases. Plants have been utilized as medicines for thousands of years.  The specific plants to be used and the methods of application for particular ailments were passed down through oral history from generation to generation (Samuelsson, 2004). The use of drugs in itself does not constitute any danger, because drugs correctly administered have been a blessing. Falco (1988) as cited by Sambo (2008) asserts that, chronic use of substances can cause serious irreversible damage to adolescent’s physical and psychological development. The use of drugs could be beneficial or harmful depending on the mode of use.

Apart from knowing the harmful effects of substance abuse, various studies have pointed out that among the reasons students abuse drugs are: for experimental purpose, curiosity, peer and family influence, lack of parental supervision, personality problems, socioeconomic issues, need for extra energy for work, to build up confidence, frustration, to achieve happiness, to reduce fear, drug availability, need to maintain drug habit in order to avoid withdrawal syndrome, to feel good, to relieve stress, to sleep, to keep awake, to enhance sexual performance, age, unemployment, poverty, and for no reason.

With the increasing rate of substance abuse, an increasing rate of violence has been observed among high school and university students. Among the highest in the drugs abused by undergraduates in a northern Nigerian university, are: cigarette, brewed alcohol, locally brewed alcohol, kolanut, apsirin and cananbbis (Essien, 2010). Cannabis is by far the most commonly used illicit drug among world population followed by tobacco (Essien, 2010). In the United Kingdom, cross-sectional studies have shown that a substantial number of students used illicit drugs, mainly cannabis, at some time during their lives (Oshodi, Aina & Onajole 2010)

The motive behind drug abuse may be sociological, psychological, out of curiosity, boredom, to alleviate fear, derive sexual and physical pleasures, or family background. Despite the fact that drug abuse has adverse effects on the youths by changing their brain perception of difficulties and problems, the number of undergraduates that use or abuse stimulants has steadily increased in recent years (Alan, 2003). Also, some University students who experience dissatisfaction with life due to anger, frustration, academic failure and boredom, consume alcohol to fit in and serve as a consolation. This invariably affects their academic performance hence hours that should be use for study are diverted to rest and sleep after its consumption (Alan, 2003).

Efforts of Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other governmental agencies to stem the tide of drug abuse in Nigeria has been meet with stiff resistance of users at different places across the nation thereby increasing the incidence of drug abuse cases in spite of their continued and destruction of such illicit drugs, the rapid rise in the number of cases of drug abuse among youths whom are mostly students is still on the increase. (Akinyemi 2008). Hence the need for the present study which is to determine the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of Benue State University students.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

A report by National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC (2008) noted that the abuse of licit and illicit drugs is forming a student sub-culture in Nigeria. This development is a significant concern for Nigerian society. When a drug is abused it causes injury to the brain and often irreversible alterations in the central nervous systems. When psychoactive substances destroy several thousand neurons, the consequences are fatal and a number of students end up under performing in their academics when under the control of this mode stimulating and controlling substance and some have died from drug overdoses (Ekpenyong, 2012).

The increasing availability of a variety of drugs to an ever widening socio-economic spectrum of consumers is disconcerting. Prescription and over the counter buying of drugs are abused when taken without the specified medical condition and proper prescription. Some of these drugs can be mood elevators, pain killers or antidepressants. Prescription drugs are drugs that are certify by a medical practitioner as a source of cure for ailment.

Drug abuse has negative impact on the education of students all over the world. The overall health of the user is affected negatively and behaviours associated with drug abuse predispose the abuser to crime and contagious diseases including HIV/AIDS (Centre for Disease Control, 2000). Drug abuse has thus become a national concern in Nigeria, given its impacts on education and future leadership, innovations and human resources. Students are particularly at risk given that they are in their formative years of education, career development, social skills and identity formation.

Despite National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC/NDLEA and other organization-based interventions, drug abuse is on the rise with over 40% of students abusing various types of drugs (Ekpenyong, 2012). Drug abuse appears to be a well entrenched behaviour among students. Drug abuse has become a threat to the lives and success of the youth. This is evidently a source of sorrow to parents, guardians and relatives. It is also a big challenge to the whole nation. Substance and drug abuse affect academic performance and mental health, cause physiological and psychiatric disturbances and have been perceived to be the major cause in poor academic performance of students, physical health problem, poor finance, emotional problems, memory impairment, risk factor for most chronic diseases, problems with family relationships and so forth.

The consequence of chewing kola nut, taking bland coffee and other substances that enhance one to stay awake at night could lead to addiction and substance abuse which may result in negative health implications and adversely affect performance in examination contrary to the expectation of students who take it to stay awake and read at night. Drug abuse has some educational, social, economic, psychological, cultural, physical and moral health consequences that may lead to low academic performance, poverty, disability, maladjustment or death of the abusers. Its use aid crime rate, cultism, mental illness, low self-esteem and self-respect, injuries to one’s health, becoming a social outcast, bringing shame to their kin and low academic performance and in some instances complete withdrawal from school.

The present study is aimed at investigating the effect of drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students of Benue State University Makurdi. Literature review by (Ekpenyong, 2012; Larissa et al 2013; & Johnston et al 2003) has shown that studies has been conducted on the effect of drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students in developed countries and even in other parts of Nigeria and Benue State in the time past. Beside, some literatures have shown contradictory views regarding the effect of drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students as other studies found a negative effect of drug abuse on academic performance while other studies found no effect of drug abuse on academic performance of undergraduate students. It is therefore due to the lack of current research regarding the subject matter in the area of the study as well as the contradictory view regarding the findings that the present research seeks to explore the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of Benue State University students.

1.3   Research Questions

The general research question is what are the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of undergraduate students? The specific questions are:

  1. What is the level of drug abuse among BSU students?
  2. What are the reasons that propel students to engage in drug abuse?
  3. What are the types of drugs commonly abused by undergraduate students of Benue State University?
  1. What are the effects of drug abuse on the academic performance of undergraduate students of Benue State University?
  2. What are the possible solutions of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University Makurdi?

1.4  Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research is to determine the effects of drug abuse on academic performance of undergraduate students of Benue State University, Makurdi. Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Determine the level of drug abuse among BSU students.
  2. Examine the drugs that are mostly abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University.
  3. Ascertain the causes of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University.
  4. To investigate the effect of drug abuse among undergraduate students in Benue State University.
  5. To proffer possible solutions to the menace of drug abuse among undergraduate students of Benue State University.

1.5    Research Hypotheses

Ho. There is no significant relationship between drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students.

Ha. There is a significant relationship between drug abuse and academic performance of undergraduate students.

1.6  Significance of the Study

This research work is significant in various ways; First and foremost this research will help in creating awareness on the need to shun acts that are capable of leading to drug abuse among youths and students in Nigeria. It will also help and be a valuable source of academic and policy material on the existing body of knowledge on the subject of drug abuse in Nigeria and its academic affect among students as other researchers can as well build and borrow a leaf from it while carrying out similar research. The research work will also help and assist in strengthening the Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act as enshrine in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended and its recommendations if properly implemented will go a long way in curtailing the menace of drug abuse in our society.

Finally, it will serve as a guide to both parents, students, academicians, institutions, researchers and the government in formulating policies that will help curb the menace of drug abuse and misuse in our society.

1.7   Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is limited to Benue State University Makurdi and is on the effects of drug abuse and academic performance of Benue State University students. The study is conforming to the university environment because of its academic importance and will be carried out from 2002-2012. However, this research is limited to Benue State University because of the short time within which this research work is to conducted and lack of financial constrain of the researcher to cover the entire state and Nigeria by extension.

1.8   Operational Definition of Terms

Drug: A drug refers to a substance that could bring about a change in the biological function through its chemical actions. It is also considered as a substance that modifies perceptions, cognition, mood, behaviour and general body functions. A drug can also be defined as any substance, which is used for treatment or prevention of disease in man and animals. It also entails any licit or illicit substance that when swallowed, smoked, sniffed or injected influences the function and operation of the body and mind.

Drug Abuse: Drug abuse is the taking of drugs or a deliberate use of drugs for purposes other than its intended purpose without the supervision of a physician or a medical practitioner. It also refers to the misuse or wrong use of drugs which have adverse effects on the central nervous system, mind, mood, behaviour and personality of the individual. Also, it is the use of any drug to the point where it interferes with an individual’s health or with his economic or social adjustment. Drug abuse also involves self-administration of drug in a manner that deviates from the approved medical and social patterns within a given culture.

Academic performance: Academic performance is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution have achieve their educational goal. It also described as how well one does in school and the achievement he/she gets. Poor academic performance entails bad grades while the desired acaedemic performance is good grades.