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Background to the Study

There is growing concern worldwide today over growing number of youth using drugs that the law does not permit or prohibit. The existence and extent of drug use has been identified as one of the greatest problem in learning institutions. This affects various aspects of learning such as student’s discipline and interest in learning hence affecting academic performance. Drugs are chemical substances that modify mental, emotional and behavioral functioning, American Psychological Association (2010). According to, the World Drug report (2005) the use of illicit drugs has increased throughout the recent years. The report further states that a major world trend is the increasing availability of many kinds of drugs.


A report released by United Nations Drugs Control Programme (2004) 4.8% of the global population consume drugs, but the worrying fact is that according to, United Nations Drugs Control Programme executive director (2004) those hooked are the youth. In China it was reported that drug use is going up while the age of new users is going down. A survey in the Czech Republic showed that 37% of new drug users were teenagers between 15-18 years old.

Drug use in particular heroine is becoming a serious problem in Egypt where around 6% of sampled secondary school students admitted to have experimented with drugs. In Pakistan it was reported that the share of those who started using heroine at 15-20 years has doubled. Africa’s role in global drug supply chain is increasing. Already the continent is second largest region for cannabis production, trafficking and consumption accounting for 26% of global Seizures of this drug in 2001, UNDCP (2004).

In Nigeria today drug use has become more prevalent than at any other times, NAFDAC (2013). Majority of the users are students in secondary schools, tertiary colleges and universities. According to, NAFDAC, the use of the drugs has spread at a fast rate and reached every part of the country. Use of drugs can be traced back to pre-colonial days when alcohol and other drugs were used and consumed as part of traditions of the communities. The communities had virtues and values that strictly guided the use of drugs. Generally consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs was a privilege of the elders, more often than not male elders. The actual existence of drug use as a social problem was rare because of strong social structures. The low levels or non-existence of drug use was sustained as a result of strong kinship ties that ran through different social institutions. Traditions and taboos were upheld to discourage the misuse of drugs.

One of the most common consequences of drug use is keeping up with academic responsibilities. According to, National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (2005) in United State of America about 25% of students experience difficulty in academics due to drug use. Such difficulties include earning low grades, doing poorly on test, missing class and falling behind in academic performance. Even students who don’t use drugs may suffer academically as a result of their peers taking drugs. The so-called secondary effects of drugs include taking care of friends on drugs and being victims of assault which can affect school work of students who don’t use drug. These consequences can have dramatic end results. School administration report that significant number of students who drop out of school do so because drugs interfere with their academics.

Drug use undermine academic mission of schools, colleges and universities. Drug use and its effect on students performance can lead to a decline in the overall academic performance of a school as a result schools may face declining retention rates and poor reputation. Schools with reputation of ‘drug use’ may attract students who engage in high-risk behaviors and may discourage prospective students who are looking for an academically vigorous institution. Nigerians make use of different substances/drugs just in the same way as this is done in many other societies.

The population in Nigeria avails itself of substances/drugs when the occasion warrants them just as other population in the world do. Substances/drugs are abused in Nigeria simply because they are used without due authorization from formally qualified and registered persons who according to the laws of the land must approve their use. This observation is borne out by several studies on illness behaviour among Nigerians (Fawa, 2003; Obiamaka, 2004). According to Kalunta (2000), the most common substances/substance abuse in Nigeria are marijuana, amphetamines, mandrax, proplus, barbiturates and codeine that have negative effects to the youths, immediate society and Nigeria at large.

Unfortunately, youth that constitute the manpower and future of Nigerian society are mostly the victims (Abdullahi, 2011). Federal Ministry of Youths and Sport (2014) observed that, Nigerian youths aged 10-30 years are about 49% of the country’s population. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (2010) observed that, over 38% of Nigerian Youths abuse drugs. According to Abang(2015), in contemporary Nigeria, many categories of youths (male and female) are hooked on substance/drugabuse . This includes an unbelievably large number of primary and secondary school pupils, undergraduate students, servicemen, cattle-rearers, unemployed, nurses, pharmacists, and even medical doctors. According to Abdullahi (2005), substance/substance abuse leads to high rate of crime, fuel conflict, political thuggery, religious intolerance, raping, domestic violence, suicide, etc in the society. It also affects the psychological and physical conditions of abusers.

Odejide (2014) observed that the reasons advanced by the students for taking drug are: to feel on top like adults, to feel good, to get excited, to be like friends and to be like stars. The abuse of these drugs which leads to addiction among these students gradually progresses to affect their academic performance and cause a host of evil happenings on the campus and in our society, such as fighting andhooliganism.  In fact, some students indulge in exam-malpractices while others breakdown during examinations leading to failure and eventual drop-out, some become rudeand arrogant to lecturers and parents, occasionally causing riots and chaos on the campuses while some grow up to become criminals in the society leading them into prison-yards. However, the main objective of the work is to study the effects of substance abuse on the academic performance and social orientation of secondary school students in Obio/Akpor.

 Statement of the Problem

Substance abuse has become rampant in the society, Nigerian society inclusive; and unfortunately the age of abusers keeps reducing from generation to generation. And so is the spectrum of the drugs abused; despite  government’s concern and heightened campaigns against the vice among high school students, there exists a parallel accelerated rate of students who are illicit drug users. Although, students are expected to be aware of the effects of substance abuse and commit themselves to their studies, the habit still exists and has so far been difficult to eliminate.

Substance abuse negatively affects students’ minds and thought processes, predisposing them to errant behavioural tendencies such as thuggery, hooliganism. It is also speculated that it affects students’ academics through events such as: missing of classes, truancy, gangsterism etc., possibly leading to occasional waves school unrest.

It is believed that, if substance abuse, together with other factors that negatively influence students’ academic performance among secondary students is checked, students’ performances would improve and they would showcase themselves as responsible members of society.

 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to assess the Effect of substance abuse on the performance of secondary school students in Obio/Akpor. Specifically, this study aimed:

  1. identifying the influence of substance abuse on academic performance among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor.
  2. establishing whether substance abuse affects discipline among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor
  3. ascertain whether substance abuse influences learning interest among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor.
  4. determine the influence of substance abuse on social behaviours among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor.


Research Questions

The following research questions were answered in the course of this study:

  • What is the influence of substance abuse on academic performance among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor?
  • Does substance abuse affect discipline among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor?
  • Does substance abuse influences learning interest among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor?
  • What the influence of substance abuse on social behaviours among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested in the course of this study:

  1. Substance abuse will not significantly influence academic performance among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor
  2. Substance abuse will not significantly affect discipline among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor
  3. Substance abuse will not significantly influence learning interest among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor
  4. Substance abuse will not significantly influence social behaviours among secondary school students in Obio/Akpor.

 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be useful to the Community, Institutions of learning and Mainland Local Government.The study would reveal the influence of drugs on students’academic performance and in their behavioural aspects. There are many parents and teachers with questions as to why their students don’t perform as expected; the government is also looking for explanations as to why the youth aredropping out of school.

Thus, this study would play an important role in reducing, or even preventing high rates of drug use and abuse. Basedon the findings, recommendations will be made. If followed, these recommendations would be useful to administrators and local government in curbing substance abuse in schools by improving existing educational programmes, and striving to develop ones that are even more efficient.

Apart from proposing more effective preventive measures in relation to substance abuse, the study will also provide a background for other studies in its prevention. This would help in promoting a drug-free school environment and better academic performance, thus improving the standards of education in the county. In the absence of specific policies on substance abuse in schools this study will make important recommendations on the way forward.

 Scope of the study

This study covers the Effect of substance abuse on the performance of secondary school students In Obio/Akpor, delimited to Obio/Akpor.

  • Operational Definition of Terms
  • Alcohol abuse: A pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.
  • Academic Performance: The extent to which a student has achieved his or her educational goals.
  • Barbiturates: They are drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. They produce effects ranging from mild sedation to total anaesthesia e.g. sleeping pills
  • Drug: Any product other than food or water that affects the way people feel, think, see, and behave. It is a substance that due to its chemical nature affects physical, mental and emotional functioning.
  • Substance abuse:The use of drugs for purposes other than medical reasons, thus affecting the individual in a negative way socially, cognitively or physically.
  • Influence: the power to change or affect someone, the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.
  • Marijuana Abuse: Preparation of the cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug.
  • Orientation: a person’s basic attitude, beliefs, or feelings in relation to a particular subject or issue.

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