Assessment of Substance Use Among Military Personnel in Kaduna State : Current School News

Assessment of Substance Use Among Military Personnel in Kaduna State

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Assessment of Substance Use Among Military Personnel in Kaduna State.

ABSTRACT

Indiscipline and rampant clashes between forces personnel with frequent „accidental discharge‟ observed among military personnel are often associated with drugs. Drugs are known to have the potency of effecting changes in the perception, feelings, and behavior of living organisms.

Of more paramount is the use of social drugs referred to as recreational drugs which have become a problem among military personnel in Nigeria of which formations in Kaduna State are part. This study, therefore, sought to make an assessment of substance use among military personnel in Kaduna State.

The assessment was carried out with the aid of a structured questionnaire, designed by the researcher. The constructed questionnaire was administered to some selected military personnel in five formations within the state through a proportionate random sampling procedure. In all, 644 personnel were involved in the study.

Data collected were analyzed using frequencies and percentages, means and standard deviations. The hypotheses were tested with one-sample t-test. From the analysis of the data it was found that there are psychoactive substances that are commonly used by military personnel in Kaduna State.

Such substances included among others Alcohol and marijuana. That the sources for the psychoactive substances used by military personnel are substantially established to include friends, pharmaceutical outlets, drug patent stores and drug hawkers.

And that military personnel take psychoactive substances for some assumed reasons that included the general perception among military personnel that substance use generally enhances performances, that drugs help personnel recover from a hard workout more quickly, help personnel to avoid depression and any form of prolong anxiety and help to eliminate tiredness.

It was found that the personnel were aware of the adverse effects which included: cardiovascular diseases, physical pains, restlessness, impaired vision, and mental disability among others.

Based on the findings it was recommended that periodic orientation on the adverse effects of psychoactive substances use be embarked upon to sensitized personnel on the wrong notion held about advantages of such usages and that effort should be made at discouraging drug hawkers from all military formations in the state as well as enforcement of regular physical activities and recreation to reduce anxiety and prevent psychologically induced stress.

INTRODUCTION

The word drug has acquired bad connotations in recent years, because the widespread use of few chemicals that affect the central nervous system (CNS) has become a serious sociological problem.

Drugs act on many organs in the body, they have benefits as well as harmful effects in the body and in the way diseases are treated.

From the early time, man learned to use drugs to cure diseases, treat various types of ailments, fight infections and reduce pains.

With the passage of time man discovered the properties of certain drugs which he later capitalized on in life. Drug and alcohol use have historically been common among military personnel.

Drugs have been used by soldiers to reduce pain, lessen fatigue, and increase alertness or to help them cope with boredom or panic that accompany battle. During the U.S. Civil War, medical use of opium resulted in addiction among some soldiers.

In the modern U.S. military, drug use becomes a recognized problem during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 70s.

Approximately 20 percent of Vietnam War veterans reported having used narcotics (heroin, opium), on a weekly basis, and 20 percent also were considered to be addicted based on reported symptoms of dependence (Robin, Helzer, & Davis, 1975).

Although few personnel continued using heroin when they returned home, there were concerns about addiction.

Similar to drug use, heavy drinking in the military has been an accepted custom and tradition (Bryant, 2008; Schuckit, 2008). In the past, alcohol was thought to be a necessary item for subsistence and morale and, as such, was provided as a daily ration to sailors and soldiers.

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