Subjective Experiences and Meaning Associated with Drug Use and Addiction in Nigeria: A Mixed Method Approach

  •  Olujide Adekeye    
  •  Jonathan A. Odukoya    
  •  Olufunke Chenube    
  •  David O. Igbokwe    
  •  Angie Igbinoba    
  •  Elizabeth I. Olowookere    


PURPOSE: Nigeria is experiencing increased rate of drug use among young people. Studies have shown a very high rate of drug use and addiction among university undergraduates and this study was aimed at examining the experiences and meanings associated with drug abuse and addiction among university students while also identifying the causative factors of the use of psychoactive substances.

METHODS: The study which is a mixed method made use of an adapted and validated version of the drug abuse screening test (DAST-10) scale to measure drug use and emotional intelligence questionnaire was used to measure an aspect of psychosocial functioning and interviews were used to explore the subjective experiences of six participants. Both the purposive and snowballing sampling techniques were employed. The quantitative data generated were coded and entered into the statistical package for social sciences and results were presented using descriptive tables.

RESULTS: The results showed no significant relationship and a negative correlation between drug abuse and emotional intelligence (r = -0.229, p> 0.05). The qualitative data was transcribed and coded using thematic coding where themes are extracted from each transcript. The most commonly used substances were codeine (85%), alcohol (75%), cannabis (70%), tramadol (65%), rohypnol (65%), and tobacco (50%). Qualitative data shows that the participants exercised some sort of willpower over the use of psychoactive substances and the major reason for use was to seek a new experience.

CONCLUSION: This study brought to the fore the evidence that personal meanings and experiences come into play in taking decisions on drinking or substance use and this should be considered when interventions are planned.

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