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PROJECT TOPIC: FAMILY SUPPORT AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG UNDERGRADUATES IN LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY

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CHAPTER ONE

  • BACKGROUND OF STUDY

The use of hard drugs by adolescent students in Nigerian colleges of education has become an embarrassing occurrence to parents, schools, government authorities, and the society at large. The constant abuse of drugs among this group of students can cause psycho-social problems in society. One may hope that this hateful practice and its associated problems would not lead to the breeding of deranged generation of youths. This fear is not speculative because of what happens to be the frequent and rampant drug crises in many Nigerian educational institutions. Adolescence is a period of changeover from childhood to adulthood and this critical developmental period is marked by several physical, psychological and social changes. Adolescents are a segment of population with age range between 14-25years. Most students in colleges of education in Nigeria are usually within the adolescent age range of 14-25 years (Olugbenga-Bello; Adebinpe; Abodurin, 2009). Adolescence is a time of experimentation, exploration, curiosity and identity search. Part of such a quest involves some risk-taking, including the use and abuse of psychoactive substances, which are the drugs that apply their major effects on the brain resulting in sedation, encouragement or change in mood of an individual. Adolescents are faced with the huge task of establishing a sense of identity. The new cognitive skills of maturing adolescents give them the ability to reflect on who they are and what makes them unique. Identity is made up of two components, selfconcept and self-esteem (American Psychological Association, 2002). Self-concept is a set of beliefs about oneself, including attributes, roles, goals, interests, values, religious and political beliefs, while self-esteem is how one feels about one’s self-concept. All of the developmental changes that adolescents experience prepare them to experiment with new behaviours. This experimentation results in risk-taking, which is a normal part of adolescent development (Sue, et al, 2009). Engaging in risk-taking behaviour helps adolescents to shape their identities, try out their new decision-making skills and gain peer acceptance and respect (Ponton, 2009). Unfortunately, some of the risk that adolescents take may pose a real threat to their health and well being. These include pregnancy, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse. Odejide (2000) posited that drug is said to be abused when its use is not pharmacologically necessary especially when used in the face of legal prohibition or when a socially acceptable beverage is used excessively. Sambo, (2008) viewed that chronic use of substances can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage to adolescent’s physical and psychological development. A drug refers to a substance that could bring about a change in the biological function through its chemical actions (Okoye, 2001).


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