Chemical substances that alter mood and behaviour have been known and used by man since ancient times. Earlier studies in Nigeria,“ have shown that the main drugs abused in Nigeria are alcohol, cannabis and amphetamine. In recent times however, the abuse of “hard” drugs
especially heroin and cocaine have been reported.
The study of alcoholism or alcohol related disabilities in Nigeria, has continued to show regional disparity. Most studies from the South have reported lower figures than Studies from the North. For instance, Binitie found only 0.4% of alcoholics in his study in Benin-City while
Odejidel in a 10 year retrospective survey of the case-notes of patients admitted into the 500 bedded University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, found only 42 problem drinkers. In Kaduna, lfabumuyi’ using the CAGE screening test on patients attending the Ahmadu Bello University general out-patient clinics, the specialist clinics of the same university and the Armed Forces Hospital. Kaduna, found a high prevalence of alcoholism problem drinking with figures ranging from 17.2%, 31.3% to 41.1% in the various clinics.
Cannabis abuse has been shown to account for about 20% of all admissions in our hospitals.‘ Boroffka, claims that the loneliness associated with urbanization and industrialization motivates the Nigerian youth to abuse cannabis. Several psychiatric syndromes have been
associated with the ingestion of cannabis. Notable among these is the “a motivational syndrome’ characterised by apathy, withdrawal and unproductivity. Psychotic episodes in naive and heavy habitual cannabis users have also been reported.
Amphetamine and related group of drugs is another commonly abused drug in Nigeria. Olatawura found that the misuse of these group of drugs was common among the Nigerian privileged youths.
The aim of this paper is to identify how many psychiatric patients have problems with alcohol and for drugs and to describe their social and clinical characteristics.