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DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG YOUTH IN NIGERIA: TYPES, CAUSES AND IMPLICATIONS ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The phenomenon of drug and substance abuse has become a contemporary social problem among youth. Alarmingly, large number of youth in Nigeria becomes involved up to the extent of some of them becoming dependents thereby affecting their quality of life. Understanding the nature of this phenomenon is related to operationalizing basic concepts such as use, misuse and abuse. The boundaries that separate these concepts have remained ambiguous and debatable, varying from drug/substance to drug/substance, user to user. Given the broad typology and varied nature of what is consumed and abused today, some of the drugs/substances put users to sleep while some wake them up. They are typically grouped as – depressants, hallucinogens, narcotics, over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, sedatives, stimulants, synthetic drugs, solvents/inhalants and tranquilizers. The reasons for abusing drugs/substances and the implications are so complex involving many issues, some of which are situated around the individual; external to the individual or are situated within the society or the environment. There is no single theory of drug/substance abuse, the propositions of scholars in respect of socio-psychological, trait, bio-social, learning, availability, relative deprivation, social disorganization, gateway/stepping-stone, strain and anomie theories are instructive. No society has been spared from the devastating havoc caused by drug/substance abuse especially the implications on socio-economic and political development. The adverse consequences could be social, economic, political, physical, psychological, medical and physiological, affecting users, immediate families and the society. Government, communities, using educators, should continue with the efforts on raising awareness about drugs/substances and their effects.
Keywords: Depression, Gadagi, Hallucinogens, Stimulants, Youth.