Neuroscience in Nigeria: the past, the present and the future
This paper reviews the available literature on the epidemiology of drug abuse in Nigeria. Depending on the definition used, substances which are abused include antibiotics, antidiarrhoeals, laxatives, pain-relieving drugs, sedatives, amphetamines and cannabis. This review is, however, limited to studies on substances which alter behaviour or mood. These drugs include cannabis, sedative-hypnotics, amphetamines and alcohol. For some classes of drugs there has been a noticeable shift in patterns of drug abuse, for example, from abuse of methaqualone to barbiturates. The abuse of volatile solvents and other substances has also been noted. The review shows that there is no age limit among drug abusers. Studies on the influence of social class have been contradictory. Factors which indicate a predisposition to initial drug use have been similar to those reported in other cultures. Although the studies agreed on the classes of drugs abused and the changing patterns of drug abuse, there has been no uniform reporting system. This situation is attributed to financial constraints. Large-scale surveys which should incorporate most of the core items in any epidemiological study on substance abuse have been suggested.