Psychosocial consequences and reasons for illicit drug use among police officers in a northern Nigerian city: A mixed-method study


Submitted: September 23, 2021
Accepted: June 2, 2022
Published: June 30, 2022
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Authors

  • Fatimah I. Tsiga-Ahmed Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
  • Kefas J. Kwaghe Nigeria Police Medical Services, Nigeria Police Academy, Wudil-Kano, Nigeria.
  • Adamu M. Mukhtar Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
  • Musa M. Bello Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
  • Rabiu I. Jalo Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
  • Aminatu A. Kwaku Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
  • Usman M. Ibrahim Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.
  • Taiwo G. Amole Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Department of Community Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; African Centre of Excellence for Population Health and Policy, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria.

Harmful use of drugs is one of the principal risk factors affecting population health worldwide. Chronic use has been linked to medical, psychological and socioeconomic consequences. This study assessed the psychosocial consequences and reasons for illicit drug use among police officers in Kano, Nigeria. Using a mixed method of data collection, quantitative data was obtained from a cross-section of 275 officers using the Shortened Inventory of Problems-Drug Use (SIP–DU) and a pretested adapted questionnaire. In-depth interviews with 10 officers who used illicit drugs provided additional information. Almost half of the respondents (46.5%, n=128) were in their fourth decade of life with a mean age (±SD) of 35.1 ± 7.7 years. Over a quarter of the respondents (n=75) reported ever using illicit drugs, out of which 14.9% (n=41) were current users. Among the current drug users, 80.5% (n=33) attested to having money problems, 61.0% (n=25) agreed that they had spent too much money, and 56.1% (n=23) failed to do what was expected of them as a result of drug use and have hurt their family. Helping to stay awake and improving confidence were the major reasons (100%, n=41) for drug use mentioned by the respondents. The Nigerian Police Force should look into easing shifts and introducing stress-relieving activities. There is also the need to strengthen substance education and counselling and support officers with confidence issues, sleep disorders, and treat those with mood disorders.


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