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This research centers on the causes of drug abuse, theories of causes, signs and symptoms, effects, and strategies for possible solutions.

Drug abuse and dependence otherwise known as substance or chemical abuse is a disorder that is characterized by a destructive pattern of applying drugs thereby leading to significant problems or disorder. This devastating problem cuts across every strata of human society but mostly rampant among the adolescence. This study, “The causes of drug abuse and its effects among secondary school students” is written to appraise the effects of drug abuse, dependence and how it affects the academic performance and intellectual capability of the students in secondary schools. The research concludes that the academic performance of students have been so poor due to the effects of drug abuse and addiction hence recommends that public sensitization should be carried out periodically on the dangers of drug abuse while the regulatory bodies be strengthened to carry out their functions effectively so as to reduce the trend especially in secondary schools.

                                          CHAPTER ONE


1.1 Background of the study

Drug abuse being, an extreme desire to obtain and use increasing amount of one or more substance, this include alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, cigarettes, codeine and other substances which are harmful to the health of the individual. When considering drug abuse one should be able to differentiate it from drugs dependence or drugs addiction, which is the physical dependence on drugs to function. Drug abuse is a deliberate in-take of drugs for purposes other than its intended purpose without the supervision of a physician or a medical practitioner while drug addiction is the continuous uncontrolled, compulsive use of a drug not only to include intoxication but also to avoid the tortures of withdrawal. Despite the unrelenting effort of individuals, agencies, mass media and the government at different levels against drug abuse, the prevalent practice among secondary school students, and even adults in the community has not reduced but on the increase geometrically.

According to Ajayi and Ayodele (2002), drug abuse is the wrong use or inappropriate use of chemical substances that are capable of changing functions of cells in the body. Bayer, as cited in Egbochuku and Akerele (2007), saw stimulants, which are substances that cause an increase in the activity of an organ in the body, as chemicals that excite certain activities of the central nervous system. Ajayi and Ekundayo (2010) also saw drug abuse as over-dependence and misuse of one particular drug with or without a prior medical diagnosis from qualified health practitioners.

Scholars tends to question who falls victims to drug abuse, which brought the conclusion that anyone can be a victim of drug abuse irrespective of age, social groups and genders.

Drug abuse is a social problem that has spread like a wild fire across our educational institutions especially among our secondary school students. In secondary schools today, this social mal adaptation is considered an issue of serious concern as it adversely affects the lives and performance of students involved as well as the harmonious functioning of the entire society. Drug abuse and other associated problems are inimical to the survival and effective functioning of human societies. A significant number of health hazards, untimely deaths, and accidents have been linked with the activities of persons under the influence of one drug or the other.

Over the past two decades, the abuse of drugs in Kenya has rapidly increased and risen to unprecedented level and no part of the country is safe from the scourge (Ngesu et al, 2008).

Many people have defined drug abuse in different ways neglecting it actual causes. In medicine, drugs refer to any substance with the potential to prevent or cure diseases. Drugs can be legal or illegal. Drug abuse refers to non-medical use of drugs. A substance is considered abused if it is deliberately used to induce physiological or psychological effects or both for purpose other than therapeutic ones and when the use contributed to health risks or some combinations of these.

 The World Health Organization (WHO), defines drug as any substance other than those required for maintenance of normal health, which when taken into the living organism, may modify one or more of its functions (Ghodse, 2003).

According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Report (2005), about 200 million people, or 5 percent of the world’s population age between 15 and 65 have used drugs at least once in the last 12 months. Likewise, according to the World Drug (2005) reported that, the use of illicit drugs in all Nations has increased in recent years. The report goes on to note that the increasing availability of a variety of drugs to an ever widening socio-economic spectrum of consumers is disconcerting, although the main problem at the global level continues to be opiates (notably heroine) followed by cocaine. For most of Europe and Asia, opiates accounted for 62 percent of all drug treatment sought in 2003. While 3.3 to 4.1 percent of the global population admits to consuming drugs, the most worrisome trend for the UNDCP Executive Director is the younger and ages at which people are becoming addicted. In Pakistan for example, the share of those who started heroine use at 15-20 years of age has doubled to almost 24 percent. A survey in the Czech Republic showed that 37 percent of new drug users were teenagers between 15 and 19 years old. In Egypt, drug use - in particular heroin use - is becoming a serious problem and nearly 6 percent of secondary and tertiary school students admit to having experimented with drugs.

Adewuya (2005) noted that alcohol is most widely used among young people. West and Graham (2005) also agreed that students, as a subset of the youth population, consume large quantities of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Ajake, Isangedihi and Bisong (2009) posited that premarital sexual practices and drug abuse constitute social ills that have been age-long problems in the secondary school system. Ajayi and Ekundayo (2010) equally confirmed that drug abuse has been identified as a serious constraint to effective teaching and learning process in the Nigerian educational system. Drug abuse, according to Ajayi and Ayodele (2002), is the wrong use or inappropriate use of chemical substances that are capable of changing functions of cells in the body. Bayer, as cited in Egbochuku and Akerele (2007), saw stimulants, which are substances that cause an increase in the activity of an organ in the body, as chemicals that excite certain activities of the central nervous system. Ajayi and Ekundayo (2010) also saw drug abuse as over-dependence and misuse of one particular drug with or without a prior medical diagnosis from qualified health practitioners. They further identified dangerous drugs like cocaine, Indian hemp (marijuana), heroin, tobacco, ephedrine, valium five and Chinese capsules as few among the drugs commonly abused by youths. Oshodi, Aina and Onajole (2010) reported that, despite worldwide concern and education about psychoactive substances, many adolescents have limited awareness of their adverse consequences. They further explained that curiosity, social pressure and peer group influence are noted to be primary reasons for substance misuse. Makanjuola, Daramola and Obembe (2007), Aina and Olorunsola (2008), and Buddy (2009) lamented that a substantial percentage of the national budgetary allocation is utilized for treatment and rehabilitation of people with substance use problems in Nigeria.

NDLEA, 1991) stated that there are as many males as there are females who abuse drugs. Individuals with physical or mental illness are more likely to use drug than those without such illness. These individuals are more pre-disposed to over use of or over dependence on drugs to control and treat such ailments.

A survey carried out by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) revealed that they abuse drugs as early as age eleven (for prescribed drugs) and age 16 (for narcotic drugs). The reasons advanced by these students are to feel on top like adults, to feel good, to get excited, to be like friends and to be like stars.


Alcohol and cigarette are said to be legal, but these substances have also led to the initiation of other more potent drugs like heroin and cocaine. Abuse of drugs has created several health issues and dangers in our schools today. Such as mental illness, cancer of the lungs, school drop-outs, cultism, gangsters, rape cases and even examination-malpractices and juvenile delinquency. The alarming rate of drug abuse in schools is very common and it effects are so numerous. This study, therefore, attempts to investigate the contributions of family background, peer groups and family cohesion to drug abuse in schools and the effects of drug abuse on students’ academic performance in secondary schools.


The broad objective of the study is to examine the causes and effects of drug abuse among secondary school students. The specific objectives include the following:

i)             To examine the causes of drug abuse among secondary school students

ii)           To determine the effects of drug abuse among secondary school students

iii)          To ascertain if there is any significant difference in the causes of drug abuse between the male and female students

iv)         To ascertain the relationship between drug abuse and drug addiction on academic performance of students in secondary school.


For the purpose of this study the following questions were raised by the researcher for the in depth study of this research work;

1)           What are the causes of drug abuse among secondary school students?

2)           What are the effects of drug abuse among secondary school students?

3)           What is the relationship between drug abuse and drug addiction on the academic performance of students?

4)           What are the impacts of drugs abuse on students’ academic achievement?


This study will be of utmost benefits to students and school authority in post-primary section as it serves as a blue print in curtailing the dangers  of drugs in the school. The paper will be relevant to those who will want to carry out a similar research topic as it has contributed to the existing literature. Finally, the study will be relevance to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other relevant bodies in combating drug abuse and addiction on our schools and campuses.


This study examined the influence of drug abuse on secondary school students in relation to their family background, family cohesion, peer group influence, and it effects on students’ academic performance. However the research has some constraints which are;

Time: the time at the disposal of the researcher which is allocated for the study was a major limitation as the researcher has to combine other academic work with the study.

Finance: The finance at the disposal of the researcher in the course of the study does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


Drug: A drug is any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue causes a physiological change in the body.

Abuse: Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of an entity, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit.

Academic Performance: Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals.

Drug Dependence: Drug dependence also known as substance dependence is an adaptive state that develops from repeated drug administration, and which results in withdrawal upon cessation of drug use.

Legal drugs: Legal drugs, also known as legal intoxicants or, more commonly, as legal highs, are those intoxicating drugs which are either completely legal or not commonly prohibited by various drug laws.

Illegal drugs: Illegal drugs are drugs which have limitations on their ownership or use by a government, and are illegal in certain situations (meaning a person is not allowed to have them).

Stimulants: Stimulants also referred to as psych-stimulants is an overarching term that covers many drugs including those that increase activity of the body, drugs that are pleasurable and invigorating, or drugs that have sympathomimetic effects.

Inhalants: Inhalants are a broad range of household and industrial chemicals whose volatile vapors or pressurized gases are concentrated and breathed in via the nose or mouth to produce intoxication (called "getting high" in slang), in a manner not intended by the manufacturer.

1.8 Organization of the study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.

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