The Influence of Drug Dependence on Delinquent Behavior

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CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.0INTRODUCTION
Behavior has many causes, as well as many forms. It is directly observable and has measurable actions. Behavior can be normal and abnormal. Abnormal behavior could be as a result of anomalies in one’s biology, physiology or psyche. It is a part of human characteristics and it is hereditary. Some behaviors of course are learned (social learning); in fact most behaviors adopted by young adults today are learned and are self-injurious and sometimes injurious to others. Drug use is a behavior that is in vogue among young adults in modern societies of the world. In Nigeria, which is a third-world and a developing country, the problem of drug abuse is quite common among youths, especially those who school away from home and their parent’s supervision and the idle ones who neither attend school nor have jobs. The taking of drugs for social rather than prescribed medical reasons is said to be progressing at an alarming rate among Nigerian youths (Akindele and Odejide, 1974; Awaritefe and Ebie, 1975). The public, police, press, preachers, educationists, psychologists and parents regularly decry what they think are the evil consequences of drug use. Indeed, nearly every delinquent and deviant act in society is directly or indirectly attributed to drug use. A drug is being abused if its use causes physical or psychological harm to the individual. This harm could range from liver damage, from alcohol use to declines in academic performance from the frequent use of marijuana. Other kinds of damage include brain damage from inhalants, heart attack and stroke from stimulants, loss of control of machinery; cars, motorcycles etc caused by depressants, violence caused when intoxicated and infections contracted by sharing of needles (hepatitis and HIV) while injecting drugs. Although there isn’t enough evidence but some researchers believe that drugs change neural functioning in ways that may increase the risk of serious mental problems. For example, early marijuana use may increase the risk of suicide and later, schizophrenia (Holden & Pakula, 1998; Arsenault & others, 2004).

The various reports of rapid situation assessments of drug abuse and addiction in the country show a picture of widespread consumption of cannabis, followed by psychotropic substances (mainly the benzodiapines and amphetamine-type stimulants) and to a lesser extent heroin and cocaine in both the urban and rural areas. The use of volatile organic solvents is reported to be becoming popular, especially among the street children, in-school youth and women (NDLEA/UNDCP, 1999). Thus, concerns for the control of drug abuse and addiction have become a major issue. Drug use/abuse is the primary reason why many youths are incarcerated, as well as a source of crime and health problem in our society today. It has become an unprecedented problem in Nigeria that the number of youth incarcerated in various prisons across the country has increase dramatically over the last few decades. As a matter of fact, majority of these youths have been arrested for drug offences, and/or have a drug abuse problem (Essien, 2010). In support if the above findings by Essien (2010), a research conducted by Siegel et al (2010) on the same subject suggested that delinquent behavior is as a result of various factors ranging from social disorganization to peer pressure, family, genetic and emotional factors. Further research has shown that drug dependence and delinquent behavior among youth is highly correlated with the behavior of the group they are associated with, especially when parental supervision is weak (Siegel, 2010). Youths who live in lower parts of urban areas and rural areas where feelings of alienation run high often come in contact with drug users who teach them that drugs provide an answer to their feelings of inadequacy and stress (Welsh, 2010). Based on facts gathered from previous researches and...
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