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The study was conducted to find out the effects of psychoactive drugs on crime, taking Uyo metropolis as the case study. A cross-sectional survey research design was utilized as embellished in a multi-stage sampling method, including a variety of ransom sampling methods and the purposive sampling device which emphasized on the use of drugs by youths in the area. The study raised raw data from 140 respondents through questionnaire and interview methods. Furthermore, frequencies, percentage and chi-square x2 test were used for data analysis. The study revealed that drug habits of families, peer groups, socio-economic status, etc. have influence on drug abuse and illicit trafficking among our people. And most of the social problems in our society are caused by constant psychoactive drugs use among our youths, the theoretical framework of the study emphasized on structural functionalism which sees drug abuse and illicit trafficking as a result of weakening of norms of the society. The study concludes and recommends that conventional practices by the families, religious bodies, mass media, Government as well as the appropriate education and sensitization of the youths about the dangers inherent in psychoactive drug use be adopted.
The concern about the use of psychoactive drugs and its effects among our youths across the country has lasted for years, and continues to be extremely an on-going issue that envelops nation’s development paradigms. In the deepest sense, this comes based on the fact that, despite well-known risks involve, people, especially the youths continue to consume hard drugs and destroy their lives.
Legally, the term “psychoactive drug” and crime are closely related. Often times, the use of psychoactive drugs is a crime, highly prohibited by law. Psychoactive drug here, refers to any chemical substance in liquid, solid or gaseous form that is capable of changing the mood, perception, awareness or the functioning of the entire body system or a part when taken (Zayon 2003). Psychoactive drugs have the potential to suppress the neutral consciousness. No wonder some youths, especially the wrestlers, boxers and armed robbers often make use of psychoactive drugs before carrying out their activities or tasks.
On the whole, cases of psychoactive drugs consumption and its effects exist both in the rural and urban centres. This is because modern urban setting has the capacity to expose people to varieties of behavioural patterns, especially the youths. Again, the behaviour of a certain youthful group might differ from others when it comes of use of hard drugs. Furthermore, some negative impacts of psychoactive drugs on individual users and society as a whole, have called for advertisements, campaigns, announcements and public outcry against such drugs with the following slogans “SAY NO TO DRUGS, “DRUGS KILL”, “A DRUG FREE CHILD IS THE PRIDE OF THE PARENTS”, “LEND A HAND OF RIDDING NIGERIA OF HARD DRUGS”, “WILL YOU TRY ANYTHING? YOU MAY NEVER GET OFF THE HOOD”, AVOID DRUG TRAFFICKING – YOU MAY END UP BEHIND THE BARS” (Edem, 2007).
The above slogans and many similar ones are some examples of the propaganda against psychoactive drugs and drug trafficking both from government and private agencies to preserve lives rather than to destroy (Edem, 2007).
This view of effect of psychoactive drugs is supported by the opinion of Kofi Annan, formal secretary General of the United Nations (1999), when he said “Drugs are tearing a part of our societies, pawning crime, spreading diseases such as AIDS and killing our youths and our future”.
Obviously, the negative effects of drugs are becoming worrisome tale in our society. People do not even think about the negative effects associated with the used of psychoactive drugs. The manufacturers of cigarettes for instance are only interested in the profits which they usually realize from the sales of their products as well as the expansion of their factories without thinking about the harmful effects of these products. Consequently, the problems associated with hard drugs have continued to remain unsolved. Also, the use of psychoactive drugs has generated a lot of controversies and national outbursts. This led to the creation of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in 1989, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in 1993, and the rest of them in order to battle against the use of hard drugs in the country, thus, preventing the evils associated with the drugs.
The most interesting part is that despite all these measures aimed at stopping or reducing the rate at which hard drugs are consumed by people, they continue to consume them at an alarming rate. In Akwa Ibom State, the story is the same, especially in Uyo Metropolis, as the effects of hard drugs are the order of the daily activities among the youths. According to some youths in Uyo, Marijuana and other hard drugs such as cigarettes, alcohol etc helps to keep them high always if taken. They also make them to be bold when facing others. This explains why people patronize psychoactive substance in Uyo metropolis.
In essence, Police record in Uyo has shown that the rate of which hard drugs are consumed in Uyo metropolis, are at alarming increase. In fact, the drug problems have multiple of factors associated with, which are conflicting and difficult to handle. It becomes necessary to carry out a research to evaluate the causes and consequences of psychoactive drugs on crime among our youths, using Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State as a case study.
To this end, this study seeks to create opportunity for the government, non-governmental organizations and everyone associated with psychoactive drugs to understanding the negative effectives associated with drugs and future hope.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The negative effects of psychoactive drugs are becoming increasingly alarming. Most of the crimes such as violence, assault, rape, murder, assassination, burglary, armed robbery, etc are committed when psychoactive drugs have been taken (Achalu 2002). Many people are arrested each day on addicts have been found to commit more robberies than criminals not on drugs.
This situation does not only worry government but also individuals. So, to ameliorate this situation in our country, the government, parents as well as scholars have done a lot of works and they have also taken some measures to arrest this situation, yet, the problem persists. This may be as a result of inadequate security agents. It is against this background that this study is being proposed, using Uyo metropolis as a case study. Hence the research takes the following questions.
- What are the variables that make people possess and depend on hard drugs for their daily activities.
- What are the effects associates with consumption of psychoactive drugs.
- What steps should government, the families, churches, health institutions and other concerned agencies, etc take to put a stop to drugs consumption and addition by our youths.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study is to investigate into the effects of psychoactive drugs on crime in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State.
The specific objectives of the study include:
- To identify the reasons why people take psychoactive drugs.
- To examine the relationship between available anti-drug laws and crime
- To identify the relationship between socio-economic status and crime.
- To know the type of psychoactive drugs available in Akwa Ibom State.
1.4 Research Questions
The study is designed to ask the following questions:
- Can psychoactive drugs consumption lure youths to commit crime in the society?
- Has socio-economic status has any significant effect on drugs?
- Does psychoactive drug have any effect on health of the user(s)?
- Has peer group influence any significant effect on the use of drug by Uyo youths?
- Can the weather condition lure youths to take hard drugs?
1.5 Statement of the Hypotheses
The study is designed to test the following hypotheses:
- There is no relationship between someone socio-economic status and crime.
- There is no relationship between psychoactive drugs use and crime.
- There is no relationship between available anti-drugs laws and crime.
- There is no relationship between peer group influence and drugs abuse.
1.6 Significance of Study
The findings of the study will enable the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC) and the National Agency for food and Drugs Administration and control (NAFDAC) to develop comprehensive prevention measures, which when implemented, will create awareness to people and reduce the rate at which people abuse drugs. Furthermore the findings of the study will also serve as a reference material and beneficial guide to other researchers, parents, teachers, government, youths, etc in their understanding of the causes and consequences of psychoactive drugs on crime, especially in Uyo metropolis.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The research centres on the effects of psychoactive drugs on crime, in Uyo metropolis. It covers the reasons why people abuse psychoactive drugs and the effects on crime. The decision to carry out this study in Uyo metropolis is due to the upsurge in criminal activities within the vicinity.
Also, due to the fact that people who possess and depend on drugs in Uyo metropolis come from diverse background, the characteristics of the sample obtained from the respondents might be differed from the large populations to which one might want to draw conclusion. In addition, biases which some respondent might include in their various responses can serve as constrains to the study. Financial constraint is another limitation. This is the reason why the study is carried out in Uyo metropolis.
1.8 Ethnography of Uyo
The study centres on Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State. Uyo is a pioneer Local Government Area among the 31 Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State. Uyo was created as a district between 1900 and 1906 with Mr. R. B. Brooks, a Briton as its first Assistance District Commission (ADC). Uyo was given a status of an urban centre as a third class township in 1919. It later became Uyo District Headquarters in 1950. Between 1970 and 1975, Uyo remained Divisional Headquarters in 1950. Between 1970 and 1975, Uyo remained Divisional Headquarters comprising of six (6) other Local Government Area. Uyo Local Government Area came into existence in 1976 during the Nation-wide Local Government administration in 1987, when Akwa Ibom State was created out of Cross River State, Uyo became its Capital. Today, Uyo plays the dual role of a state capital as well as local Government Headquarters.
Uyo Local Government Area is at present made up of Hundred and Five (105) villages with four (4) clans:
The clans include: Etoi, Offot Ukwa, Ikono and Oku, (Office of the Paramount Ruler, Uyo Local Government Area) The estimate population of Uyo is about 309, 573. The people (indigenes) of Uyo are homogeneous group believed to have originated from a single ancestral stock called the Semi-Bantu and of Ibibio ethnic stock. The ancestors of the Ibibio migrated and settled in Usak Edet (Edik Afaha), creek now in Cameroon (Abasiattai 1987:141). While in the Cameroon, the Ibibio were known as Afaha people. The period of the Ibibio settlement in Usak Edet and migrated from there in 300 – 1700AD (Abasiattai 1987). He also noted the Ibibio evolved their language during their sojourn in Usak Edet and also perfected their hunting, food gathering and agriculture technique.
Therefore, they migrated into the Western part of the sub-region and further settled in Arochukwu especially at Iban where they moved southwards. There, they settled for a long time until the Aroigbos who were expanding Southward met them (Ekong 1983:4). Thus, since the Aro-Igbo were different people who spoke different language from the Ibibio language, war broke out, and the Ibibio were defeated, hence, they migrated southwards leaving their town of Ibom which their conquerors occupied till date. Travelling through the northern sectors of our state, the entire modern Ibibios first settled in Ikono, and by 17500 AD some migrated and established their settlement in the present area, Uyo. Due to the present political status of the area, Uyo has witnessed massive influx of people and gas gradually become urbanized as we can see today.
The people of Uyo have a very rich cultural heritage, a peachy accommodating nature. Their notable cultural plays include: Ebre, Akpasa, Samba, Uyai Iban, Eka Ekong, Ekpo and Ekpe. These are usually featured during festivals and important occasions. The people are predominantly Christians, although some forms of traditional African religion are practiced by few. Their cultural heritage is reflected and displayed through dances, songs, arts, fashion, crafts and general way of life of the people.
Geographically and climatically, Uyo LGA lies between latitude 05.32 and longitude 0736E. this is within the equatorial rain forest belt, which is a tropical zone that houses vegetation of green foliage of trees, shrubs and oil palm trees. The environment favours cash crops. It is endowed with a near flat land terrain, which shapes gently towards the South East. The sub equatorial climate region within Uyo is located and influenced by warm humid air from Atlantic Ocean and slightly by hot dry air masses from Sahara Desert. The prevailing winds are moist maritime south-westerly monsoon and line squall, and the dry continental North-Easterly wind prevalent between the months of December and February. The long rainy season lasts from March to October with heaviest rains. Uyo Local Land Mass of 1,250,000 Sqkm of which substantial percentage is fertile and suitable for Agriculture (Udofia 2004). Uyo shares common boundaries with Etinan, Ibesikpo Asutan, Itu and Uruan, Ibiono and Abak Local Government Areas.
Economically, the people of Uyo are very enterprising and majority of them engage in farming, small scale trading, fishing, artisan, craft making. Furthermore, the dual role of Uyo as a State Capital as well as Local Government Headquarter has led to increase in “white collar employment, etc. This has pushed or pulled people all over the country to Uyo in search of employments, to go to school, to do business, some to trade, etc with a view to earning a living. As the people beginning to come into Uyo, the opportunities to acquire success is limited. People continue to suffer, in their suffering, some try to use Legal means to succeed while other use illegal means to acquire success. This lead to trade on illegal commodity and people patronize such commodities. Today, the sale of drugs is the business carried out by 60% of the people. This is the season why most people are known for drug abuse. These drugs like alcohol, cigarette, marijuana, cola nut, cafine, etc are sold everywhere. For instance, we have so many drinking parlors and spots where alcohol is sold for 24hours in Uyo metropolis. And since these drugs are found every corner of the roads, motor parks, in front of people’s houses and shops, people continue to abuse them, especially, the Okada riders, the taxi-drivers, market woman, students, etc. since there is patronage in this kind of business, the traffickers and their agents make much money in the business. Today the effect of these drug on crime are the order of the day in Uyo metropolis.
Furthermore, Uyo LGA is blessed with educational and Socio-economical infrastructures exploitable for meaningful growth. The LGA accommodates several Educational institutions of Higher Learning like University of Uyo, Uyo city polytechnic, Satellite campus of many Universities, school of Nursing etc. it also has many secondary schools and primary schools with traditional specific school for the handicapped. There are two industrial layouts in the area: Mechanical Village- Abak Road, Aka Etinan industrial layout which accommodates champion Breweries, Plastocrown industries and the Autopak Company. A part from these, there is other companies located in Uyo, but no enough to accommodate many applicants wondering around our streets in the town. These unemployed people are eager to do anything that can bring money for them. Some decide to take drugs in order to cope with the problem of unemployment and idleness.
1.9 Definition of Terms
It is necessary to understand the terms and concepts used in the search. One can only understand and interpret the study if one understands the concepts used. Here, the terms used in this study, will be conceptualized or operationalized. The terms include: Effect, Psychoactive Drug Dependence, Drug Abuse, Drug Trafficking, Crime and Metropolis.
These are the consequences , impacts produced or caused by something. It is a change that somebody or something causes in something else (Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary, 6th Edition).
This any substance other than food that when taken into the body, alters the structure or function of the body in some way (Achalu 2002). According to W.H.O (1970), a drug is nay chemical substance which when introduce into a living organism may modify or change the psychological and chemical process of the body. These are drugs that affect out thinking, feelings and behaviour. These include: stimulants, depressants, narcotic and hallucinogens (Achalu, 2002).
This is a condition resulting from taking drug regularly and usually taking more and more of it that person solely depends on it.
This is the use of drugs when it is not medically necessary or its use is legally prohibited or when it is excessively used. It involves the taking of drugs without medical justification or use of drug in doses resulting in danger to the user(s).
This is commercial movement of illicit drugs from one region to another through middlemen to the users. It is internally organized in the patter or organized crime which involves very stringent security measures aimed at concealing the drugs while being converted from one spot to the other and one country to another (Mohammed, 1996).
Crime: This refers to those activities which break the norms of the society, and are subject to official punishment. Crime is an anti-social behaviour or activity which amount to an infraction of the Law as spelled out in the legal or criminal code of the State or society concerned (Nzegbulam 2003). Crime is a relative term differed from one society to another. In Nigeria crime include: rape, drug abuse, robbery, abortion, prostitution, arson, assassination, kidnapping, picking pocket, etc. (Green 1990).
Metropolis: This is an urban centre where contemporary city life exists in abundance. It is a place with a relatively large, dense, settlement of heterogeneous individuals (Louis Wirth, 1938). Metropolis is a place where seats of government are sited. It is a place where we have infrastructural facility in abundance. A place where most industries and companies are sited and concentrated. It is a place where we have dense population of people from diverse cultural background, doing businesses, thereby bringing about large markets etc.