The word drug has acquired bad connotations in recent years, because the widespread use of few chemicals that affect the central nervous system (CNS) has become a serious sociological problem. Drugs act on many organs in the body, they have benefits as well as harmful effects in the body and in the way diseases are treated. From the early time, man learned to use drugs to cure diseases, treat various types of ailments, fight infections and reduce pains. With the passage of time man discovered the properties of certain drugs which he later capitalized on in life. Drug and alcohol use have historically been common among military personnel. Drugs have been used by soldiers to reduce pain, lessen fatigue, and increase alertness or to help them cope with boredom or panic that accompany battle. During the U.S. Civil War, medical use of opium resulted in addiction among some soldiers. In the modern U.S. military, drug use become a recognized problem during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 70s. Approximately 20 percent of Vietnam War veterans reported having used narcotics (heroin, opium), on a weekly basis, and 20 percent also were considered to be addicted based on reported symptoms of dependence (Robin, Helzer, & Davis, 1975). Although few personnel continued using heroin when they returned home, there were concerns about addiction.
Similar to drug use, heavy drinking in the military has been an accepted custom and tradition (Bryant, 2008; Schuckit, 2008). In the past, alcohol was thought to be a necessary item for subsistence and morale and, as such, was provided as a daily ration to sailors and soldiers. Within the predominantly male U.S. military population, heavy drinking and being able to “hold one‟s liquor” have served as tests “of suitability for the demanding masculine military role” (Bryant, 1974& Wertsch 1991). A common stereotype has been to characterize hard-fighting soldiers as hard-drinking soldiers. Alcoholic beverages have been available to military personnel at reduced prices at military outlets and until recently during “happy hours” at clubs on military installations (Bryant, 1974, & Wertsch, 1991).
In addition, alcohol has been used in the military to reward hard work, to ease interpersonal tensions, and to promote unit cohesion and camaraderie. As peace-keeping mission became popular, manufacturers of drugs started to produce highly potent drugs often with dangerous side effects, to improve performances. Misuse of substances among military personnel, were widespread particularly at the time of the Second World War. Davidson &Neale (1996), further revealed that drugs were administered to soldiers during the Second World War to reduce fatigue. Nevertheless, Mottram (1999) stated that ancient soldiers used stimulants to enhance their physical performance, describing the use of caffeine and alcohol by soldiers between the middle of the nineteenth century and advent of the Second World War. The author concluded that the development of amphetamine stimulants drugs reached its peak around the time of the Second World War, when drugs were administered on combat troops to enhance their mental awareness and delay the onset of fatigue.
ASSESSMENT OF SUBSTANCE USE AMONG MILITARY PERSONNEL IN KADUNA STATE