Society of African Journal Editors

African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

Pattern of substance abuse at the drug de-addiction unit of a Nigerian psychiatric hospital

Authors: Ngozi N. Unaogu, Justus U. Onu, Obiora Iteke, Kabiru Tukur, Ihuoma Q. Oka

Journal: African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

Substance abuse is a complex challenge of modern society with significant public health importance. The aim of the study was to identify the common drugs of abuse, socio-demographic features and clinical characteristics of individuals who abuse substance in a drug de-addiction unit of a psychiatric hospital in Nigeria. It was a crosssectional descriptive survey of 86 in-patients of the drug de-addiction unit of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, South-Eastern Nigeria. A modified questionnaire by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Nigeria Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (NENDU) was used to obtain the data. Data analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20. Results show that the primary substances of abuse were cannabis (81.4%) and alcohol (16.5%), while cocaine and other stimulants were rarely used (1.2%). The mean age of the participants and age at initiation of substance use were 30.88±8.49 and 22.59±5.98, respectively. Indices of social disadvantage were seen in people with substance use disorders. The commonest route of use was by smoking (81.3%) with mental disorders, as the most common comorbidity seen (88.3%). The finding in this study on cannabis is conceded by existing literature, which reports a persistent rise in its use despite international and national efforts to reduce its supply. The early age at initiation begs for more comprehensive drug prevention programmes especially in the various levels of education. Keywords: Pattern of substance use, De-addiction Unit, Nigeria, Cross-sectional study