The burden of substance abuse, misuse

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs.

It is now a major Public Health challenge all over the world and some complications of substance abuse by young people including increased odds of engaging in risky sexual behaviour, personality disorders, sexual violence, criminal tendencies and drug dependence among others.

Globally, the harmful use of alcohol alone has been estimated to result in 3.3 million deaths each year and at least 15.3 million persons worldwide have been documented to be suffering from drug use disorders

155 to 250 million people all over the world were estimated to have used psychoactive substances with cannabis being the most commonly abused substance.

More than 2.6 million young people aged 10 to 24 die each year in the world. These deaths are mostly due to preventable causes such as substance abuse. In fact, not less than 14% of adolescent girls and 18% of boys aged 13–15 years in low- and middle-income countries are reported to have been taking alcoholic drinks.

This precarious situation is also prevalent in Nigeria as previous studies had revealed high burden of substance abuse among youths.

UNODC statistics indicate 1 in 7 persons aged 15-64 years in Nigeria had used a drug (other than tobacco and alcohol) in the past year and 1 in 5 person who had used drugs in the past year is suffering from drug user disorders.

Fuerthermore, nearly 40 per cent of high-risk drug users indicated a need for treatment of drug use disorders. Most of the high-risk drug users considered it was difficult to access drug treatment.

The cost of treatment and stigma attached to drug use and seeking treatment were cited as the primary barriers in accessing or availing drug treatment services.

Many factors have been identified to be responsible for drug abuse among young people, these include: experimental curiosity, peer pressure, poor socio-economic condition at homes and the need for extra energy for daily activities among others.

Despite efforts to tame substance abuse and misuse, the menace of this social anomaly has remained unabated particularly among the youths

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