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Drug Abuse and its Consequences by Pharm (Mrs) Kudirat Nasiru - FUL Health Corner


Throughout human history, the utilization of drugs has been a prevalent practice, serving various purposes from medicinal to recreational. However, the misuse of substances, including alcohol, opium, and hallucinogens, has posed significant challenges and consequences. This phenomenon has persisted across millennia, with individuals consuming drugs for medicinal, religious, recreational, and cognitive enhancement purposes. Notably, the misuse of drugs, especially among tertiary institution students, underscores the importance of fostering lifestyles conducive to personal and societal well-being.

Drug misuse encompasses a spectrum of behaviors, ranging from excessive consumption to the use of harmful psychoactive substances. These include both legal and illicit drugs, such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Prolonged misuse can alter brain function, impair decision-making abilities, and foster compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

The history of drug misuse is extensive, dating back to ancient civilizations like China, where psychoactive plants were utilized as early as 7000 BC. In the 19th century, substances like morphine, heroin, and cocaine were hailed as medicinal marvels, leading to widespread addiction. The 20th century witnessed a shift towards stricter drug regulations, driven by public apprehension and legislative measures like the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. In recent years, Nigeria has intensified efforts to combat drug abuse, exemplified by the establishment of regulatory bodies like NDLEA and NAFDAC to address emerging challenges such as synthetic opioids and prescription drug abuse among youths.

Types of Drugs

The Pharmaceutical industry produces various types of drugs, categorized as legal, illegal, or prescription medications. Legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, while widely available, pose substantial health risks, contributing to global mortality rates. Distinguishing between legal and illegal drugs is crucial for informed decision-making regarding substance use.

Factors Contributing to Drug Misuse

Multiple factors influence drug abuse, including genetics, environmental influences, and individual vulnerabilities. Genetic predispositions can heighten susceptibility to substance abuse, while environmental factors like peer pressure, socioeconomic status, and societal attitudes play significant roles. University students, especially, face unique pressures such as academic stress and peer influences, increasing their vulnerability to drug misuse.

Environmental Causes of Substance Abuse

Early life experiences, family dynamics, and peer interactions significantly shape addiction development. Conflict within the family and exposure to substance abuse increase the likelihood of drug misuse. Additionally, societal norms and peer pressure contribute to substance experimentation, particularly during adolescence.

Individual and Genetic Causes of Drug Abuse

Biological factors, including genetics, influence an individual's propensity for addictive behaviors, especially when exposed to substances during critical developmental stages. Continued drug use can impair decision-making and exacerbate the risk of addiction.

School and Peer Influence

College environments, characterized by newfound independence and peer interactions, can promote substance experimentation among young adults. Peer pressure and societal norms play significant roles in influencing substance use behaviors, even among resilient individuals.

Causes of Drug Misuse among Youths

Peer pressure and mental health issues, such as depression, are primary contributors to drug misuse among youths. Peer influences in environments like tertiary institutions can lead individuals into substance abuse, while depression may drive individuals to seek solace in drugs to alleviate emotional distress.

Effects of Drug Misuse

The consequences of drug misuse among youth extend across social, financial, and health domains. Drug use contribute to societal issues like crime and disease transmission, while addiction results in financial instability and deteriorating health.

Addressing Risk Factors

Preventing substance abuse requires addressing environmental and individual risk factors through measures such as parental supervision, educational programs, and support networks. Additionally, promoting self-control and resilience can mitigate the impact of peer influences and societal pressures.R

Remedies for Drug Misuse

Addressing drug misuse requires a multifaceted approach, including interventions to curb drug production and distribution, parental supervision, rehabilitation programs, educational initiatives, and strict enforcement of drug laws.

In conclusion, understanding the complexities of drug misuse and its multifactorial determinants is essential for implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies. By addressing environmental, genetic, and societal influences, societies can mitigate the impact of drug misuse and promote healthier lifestyles.


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).Releases New Findings on Inhalant Abuse (Press Release). Sept 30, 1999. 2. UNICEF 2002.

The evolutionary origins and significance of drug addiction:

History of Drug Abuse | Banyan Mass - Banyan Treatment Center:

Pharm Kudirat Nasiru is the Head of Pharmacy Unit, Directorate of University Health Services, Federal University Lokoja.