Drug abuse constitutes a global health and social problems and cut across socioeconomic, cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries with conditions and problems that vary locally. Many communities are affected by drug abuse directly or indirectly. While the right use of drug is paramount to health, its abuse brings about detrimental effects. The pattern of drug abuse varies from a region to another. The knowledge of the prevalence of drug abuse and establishing the pattern peculiar to a region will help alleviate its burden on the society.
The study was carried out among patients attending psychiatric clinic in Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State to determine the prevalence of drug abuse in the population. A cross-sectional retrospective study in which a structured proforma was used to extract the socio-demographic, clinical and drug-related data from the medical folders of 127 patients that attended the clinic. Data analysis was done with statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 25.
The prevalence of drug abuse was 25.2% and high among ages 20-39 years. Common drugs of abuse were Cannabis 68.8%, Alcohol 65.6%, Tramadol 46.9%, Cigarette 40.6%, Codeine 12.5%, Cocaine 3.1%, Gum 3.1% and Ecstasy 3.1%. Cannabis and alcohol were the substance abused most. The age at onset of substance abuse was between 14 and 19 years. 68.8% used more than one substance. The common physical and behavioral signs at presentation were physical aggression 59.4%, restlessness 56.3%, violence 53.1% and poor sleep 46.9%.
The prevalence of drug abuse is high among adolescents and young adult.
Recommendations include; strategic education of adolescents to increase awareness about harmful effects of substance abuse, empowerment and redirection of youth towards upright living, strict enforcement of laws and regulation of drug use.