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This is the opening chapter of this research. It embodies the background to the study, statement of problem, purpose of study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of study, scope and limitation and conceptual clarification.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Drug taking has always been with us. Ndika (1982) observed that man‟s experience with drugs is rooted in antiquity, it echoed out of the primate jungle but its only in recent time that the transformation of drugs and their users from an unverified tradition to science became possible.
Indeed, today, more than ever before, we live in what can be called a drug taken culture, aspirin, sleeping pills, cough mixtures, antibiotics, tea, coffee, cocoa, cigarettes and wines are but a few familiar drugs which are commonly used in our contemporary society. Few terms appear more commonly and with more confusing or misleading meanings than drug, drug use, drug misuse, drug abuse and drug addiction. Yet, we have to know quite clearly what these terms mean so that true communication and understanding can take place.
The term „drug‟ in the main, would be related to “any substance that, when taken into a living organism, may modify one or more of its functions” (Kobiowu 2006). In her opinion, Badejo (1998) views drug as any substance of medicinal preparation which has effect on living tissues. She also added that drug is anything that goes into the body and modifies one or more of its function. Bolarin and Badejo (1998) also posit that every drug is a potential poison depending on the way it is used. Drug can be used when they are put to normal use which implies that they are used according to the doctor‟s prescription. In contrast, drug misuse occurs when a drug is taken in excess or underdose or where no medical reason exists.
In technical terms, Kobiowu (2006) defines drug abuse as “a particular application of a drug more destructive than constructive for society or the individual”. Also, Lahey (2004) views drug abuse as “any drug that causes physical functioning”. Explicitly, Omokhodion and Pemede (2005) explain drug abuse as “the use of drug other than for medical purposes”. They also claim that drug abusers are generally seeking some form of mental escape when they start abusing drug and this is the dependence on psychotropic drugs. While psychotropic drugs are mind-altering drugs (Omokhodion and Pemede 2005).
In the same vein, Bolarin & Badejo (1998) observes that drug abuse is the inappropriate or unofficial excessive use of psychotropic drugs. Psychotropic drugs are also known as psychoactive drugs and are defined as “drugs which alter sensation, mood, conscious experience or other psychological or behavioural functions (Carroll, 2000).
To put it succinctly, psychotropic drugs are chemical substances that change the perceptions, feelings and behavior of an organism. The extent of these changes depend on the nature of the ingested substance, the amount present in the body, the rate and speed of administration and the psychological state of individuals.
Omokhodion and Pemede (2005) have observed that psychotropic drugs are mind altering drugs and that after a while; the continued use of psychotropic drugs may become a habit, which results to drug dependence and ultimately turns the user to a drug abuser. The most common types of psychotropic drugs that are abused include, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, marijuana, opium cannabis Lysergic acid diethyl (LSD), etc. Lahey (2004) classified psychotropic drugs into four different categories:
(i) Depressant: it mutes the mental and physical activity in varying degrees, depending on dosages and its type of drugs include heroin.
(ii) Stimulant: excite and sustain activity and diminish symptoms of fatigue. Drugs in this category include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc.
(iii) Inhalants: are common household chemicals that are put to dangerous use by being inhaled which produce feelings of intoxication and drugs include cocaine.
(iv) Hallucinogens: produce dreamlike alterations in perpetual experience and drugs in this category according to Marshall and Robert (2001), include marijuana, hashish, LSD, etc.
It should be noted, as Mayo (2006) points out, “psychotropic drugs may result to the user been hooked emotionally and psychologically and may cause physical dependence, which leads to a drug addiction problem, whether to a legal or illegal drug”. Mayo (2006) also added that the individual wants to use the drug again and again and if it is stopped, there are usually unpleasant physical reactions. Although, it is not everyone who uses drug that becomes addicted, many people do.
From the above paragraph, drug addiction involves compulsively seeking to use a substance, regardless of the potentially negative social, psychological and physical consequences. Moreover, certain drugs, such as narcotics and cocaine are more likely to cause physical dependence than other drugs (Mayo 2006).
The use of psychotropic drugs seem to be an almost universal phenomenon and has apparently occurred throughout recorded history in almost all societies. Since pre-historical times, human being have different methods of making life more pleasurable and to ease discomforts and frustrations which inevitably accompany human existence. Three of the most dangerous drugs known to man go back to historic times. They are opium, hashish and cocaine.
Silverman (1978) points out that opium and hashish are usable products and active ingredients which occur naturally in plants. Hashish was used to prepare warriors for battle by primitive people and also for religious purposes. Opium was used in China before the 19th century. Arabs, Persians and Greeks, including the Egyptians have known and used opium earlier and still use it medically. Chewing of cocoa leaves also enabled the people of Andes and adjacent territory to perform extraordinary feats of strength and endurance (WHO, 2002).
In Nigerian context, use of tobbacco had been claimed to be traditional. It is known that the older generation smoke tobbacco as cigars or snuffers in the locally made pipes. Alcohol was produced by fermenting cereal and banana. A more ready source of alcohol was palm wine tapped from palm tree (Kobiowu, 2006).
Kobiowu (2006) explained that little was known about hard drugs and their usage in Nigeria in the 60s. However, as far back as 1973, an expatriate staff at the University of Nigeria (NSUKKA), reported a substance purported to be cocaine which was used by some students but the authenticity of the substance was not precisely established. It was not until May, 1983, when the Guardian Newspaper of Nigeria, first related the story of arrival of a drug known variously in the United States of America as „snow‟ or „angel‟ or „dust‟ that awareness began to rise (Kobiowu, 2006).
The ranges of effects of these classes of psychotropic drugs are enormous, from mild relaxation to vivid hallucinations. Perhaps, even more enormous, is the frequency of their use in our contemporary society. In fact, more alarming, dampening and pathetic is the high rate of involvement of secondary school students in the dependence on psychotropic drugs and ultimately drug abuse. In recent years, dependence on psychotropic drugs and delinquency have grown in terrifying proportions among secondary school students in most countries in the world and Nigeria, a developing nation is not an exception. It is highly imperative that this scourge that is tearing our future apart needs to be curbed or controlled to its bearest minimum. The United Nations and Drug Abuse control (1992) has linked crime, learning disabilities, incidences of school drop-outs and incidences of HIV/Aids to the dependence on psychotropic drugs (Badejo, 2004).
Earlier studies by Okoh (1978), Oduaran (1979) and Johnson (1979), which was cited by Kobiowu (2006) exhibit a plethora of purposes for which student use drugs. The list includes curiosity, boldness, friends do it enjoyment of social gatherings, academic pressure. In addition, Kobiowu (2006) quoted the works of Asuni (1964) and Oviasu (1976) which had revealed that majority of those who abuse psychoactive drugs in this society are the Nigerian youths themselves.
The aforementioned prompted the topic of this research and we intend to add our quota to the wide range of works on this issue. However, we intend to bring uniqueness to this study by emphasising on the “Effects of Dependence on Psychotropic Drugs on Students Attitude in School”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Dependence on psychotropic drugs is a very complex contemporary phenomenon in most countries in the world and Nigeria a developing nation is no exception to this. While some people see it from the psychological point of view as part of Erikson‟s psycho-social development and Maslow‟s need gratification theory, others perceive the dependence on psychotropic drugs as societal malaise. That, it is socially unacceptable in Nigeria is manifested in some anti-drug agencies formed in the country, the creation of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency [NDLEA] is a vivid example. This shows the extent to which this menace has assumed national importance. It is therefore an evil to be properly watched, monitored and discouraged.
However, it is worrisome and appalling to discover that secondary school students are also involved in the dependence on psychotropic drugs and even its trade. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade raised an alarm that labourers used on secret farms for cultivation of cannabis are mainly children of school age (Vanguard, 2008).
Earlier, Xinhua News Agency (2004) posted on its website, the arrest of 16 drug traffickers with substance suspected to be cannabis, weighing 2-3 tons in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. Sadly though, two of the drug traffickers arrested were secondary school students.
Gone are the days when people hide to abuse drugs, even secondary school students put alcohol in their school bags and pockets to school. Primary experience during teaching practice of the researcher have shown that this menace has eaten deep into the fabric of our educational system and if the government are serous about curbing or controlling this epidemic, it must start from the post-primary level.
Badejo (2004) asserts that dependence on psychotropic drugs impede the stability of a conducive learning atmosphere in schools and could be one of the greatest threats to the survival of the educational system in Nigeria. This implies that other social ills that are found in our educational system are in one way or the other linked to the dependence on psychotropic drugs.
The above assertion was corroborated by the United Nations and Drug Abuse Control Agency (1992) who have linked crime, learning disabilities, incidences of school dropouts and Hiv/Aids to the dependence on psychotropic drugs (Badejo, 2004).
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The broad aim of this study is to examine the effects of dependence on psychotropic drugs on students‟ attitude in school. The research will also focus on the major factors that cause the dependence on psychotropic drugs among secondary school students.
In addition, this study will seek to know the level of awareness of the negative consequences of dependence on psychotropic drugs among secondary school students. The research will also try to provide suggestions on workable solution of dependence on psychotropic drugs among students.
In conclusion, the research will attempt to point out methods to assist students who are dependent on psychotropic drugs and how to absorb them into the school system and society at large.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
(i) Why do secondary school students depend on psychotropic drugs?
(ii) What are the effects of dependence on psychotropic drugs on students attitude?
(iii) Are students who are dependent on psychotropic drugs aware of its negative consequence?
(iv) What are the probable solutions to this negative phenomenon?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H01: Learning disabilities and dependence on psychotropic drugs will not have significant relationship among students
H02: Dependence on psychotropic drugs will not hinge on ignorance.
H03: Upholding moral societal values will not be a way out of students‟ dependence on psychotropic drugs.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The result of this study should provide basis for effective guidance to parent and guardians, teachers, students, school administrators, educational policy makers. The research should also:
(i) Curb students involvement in the dependence on psychotropic drugs
(ii) Alert students to the dangers of dependence on psychotropic drugs
(iii) Inculcate the right norms, values and attitudes in our students.
(iv) Create awareness in the already psychotropic drugs dependent students
(v) Serve as a guide on how to assist psychotropic drugs students
(vi) Save the country from breeding psychotropic drugs dependents that cannot be useful to themselves and society.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
Sometimes, a study of this nature is based on a wider sample area involving secondary schools in Lagos state. But this, at times can be too broad and unrealistic for an undergraduate research student. Also, due to obvious impediments of time and financial constraints, the study may not be given a wider and broader scope. These are greatly considered in this research work and these influenced the design and approach adopted.
Apart from the limitations mentioned above, the researcher also considered the difficulty of knowing the exact number of secondary school students involved in dependence on psychotropic drugs and this is the reason, we will be restricting our population and sample area to some selected secondary school students in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The study shall focus on drugs mainly used in Nigeria like Indian hemp, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, heroine, cocaine, opium and cannabis. Samples will be collected from students who are dependent on psychotropic drugs and school dropouts who may have vital information for the success of this research.
1.8 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
At this juncture, an attempt shall be made to operationally define some key concepts in this study. This is to make specific reference and application of the concepts used during the course of this research easily understandable and relevant.
(i) Depressant: mutes the mental and physical activity in vary degrees, depending on dosages.
(ii) Drug: a chemical substance that may be swallowed, inhaled, rub on the skin or injected, that goes into the body and modified one or more or its function.
(iii) Drug Abuse: is the inappropriate or unofficial use of psychotropic drugs.
(iv) Drug Addiction: is a situation whereby an individual is completely on the regular consumption of psychotropic drugs for pleasure or other purpose.
(v) Drug Dependence: a state of psychic or psychical dependence or both on a drug, following administration of the drug on a periodic or continuous basis
(vi) Drug Misuse: is when a drug is taken in excess or underdose or where no medical reason exists.
(vii) Drug use: this is when a drug is put to normal use, i.e. used according to doctor prescription.
(viii) Hallucinogens: produce dreamlike alteration in perpetual experience.
(ix) Inhalants: are common household chemicals that are put to dangerous use by being inhaled which produce feeling of intoxication.
(x) Psychotropic drugs: also known as psychoactive drugs are drugs which alter sensation, mood, conscious experience or other psychological behavioural functions.
(xi) Stimulants: excite and sustain activity and diminish symptoms of fatigue.
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