THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL ABUSE ON HEALTH BEHAVIOR OF YOUTH AND OLDER ADULT (A STUDY OF EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)
Alcohol consumption among different ethnic groups in Nigeria has a long history, especially among those groups where it was not forbidden by religion. In the traditional era, alcohol played complex roles in the socio-cultural relationships of different communities. It was used for rituals, marriage ceremonies, chieftaincy enthronements, etc. It was mainly consumed by male adults for pleasure while females and youths were culturally restrained from drinking. Excess consumption was not a norm and intoxication attracted negative sanctions. In the contemporary Nigerian society, patterns of consumption are changing rapidly following the socio-political and economic development of Nigeria, giving rise to new norms of alcohol use. This review examines the impact of alcohol consumption on health behavior of youths and the changing patterns of alcohol consumption. It concludes by exploring the consequences of these effects of alcohol consumption on the health behavior of youths and suggests some remedies for contemporary Nigerian society.
1.1 Background of the study
Alcohol consumption appears very rampant in schools and in the society at large. It seems to be the source one of the country’s major health challenge as well as social problems. The impact of alcoholism on youth has remained a source of worry to parents, schools, society and even the government because of the attendant misbehaviours that usually follow it have negative effect on the society and educational advancement cum achievement of the students. Current trends suggest that overall drug use is on the decline, but the proportion of youth continuing to initiate illicit substance use remains troubling. According to a recent survey, youth perception of harm associated with illicit substance use (e.g., marijuana) remains low, whereas abuse of inhalants is at a recent all-time high (Johnston et al., 2005). In 2004, approximately 1.4 million adolescents reported past year methamphetamine use (SAMHSA, 2005), and nearly 2.1 million youth across the United States engaged in marijuana use for the first time (Johnston et al., 2005).As a result of these trends, researchers increasingly have targeted adolescent substance users. There are various locations where students have access to alcohol such as beer parlours, clubs, parties and so on. It has been observed that people across cultures and countries have different reasons for drinking alcohol. Some people drink in other to conform to the norm of a particular group while adolescents majorly engage in alcohol drinking for ego assertion birth as a result of desire to be independent. For other adolescents they engage in drinking in other to reduce frustration, relieve boredom, fatigue and in addition they perceive that it could help them to escape harsh realities of their world. Some youths intake of alcohol is influenced by their parents, personal gratification and temporary adaptations are also reasons while young adults venture into alcohol consumption which is usually festered by family background crisis such as divorce or separation. Hence, such young adults are exposed and lack significant adults in their life to check their socially undesirable behaviours. Several scholars and researchers has attributed alcohol consumption to a lot of reasons and factors. World Health Organization (2004), posited that alcohol consumption are usually due to environmental factors, friends or peer group, social wellbeing and uncontrollable drinking habits of an individual. Again it is not uncommon to find students consume alcohol because of curiosity, urge and desire to achieve success in a competitive world, emotional disturbances such as anxiety due to stress, subculture and advertisement influence. Bennett (1997) viewed alcohol as a drink that is as dangerous as cocaine and heroin. He went further to note that the unfortunate thing about it is that, unlike other similarly dangerous drugs, it appears to enjoy greater acceptance and its consumption is often openly applauded by the government, press and manufacturers. This could be as a result of the resources which the government in form of tax receive and higher sales made from it. It is noticed that even at the periods of economic depression ; breweries continue to record and declare heavy profits and parts of which also goes into expansion of the production plants. WHO(2004), stated the side effect of alcohol on individuals and society at large. These effects are numerous and include the following; psychological disorder, untimely death and health problems to mention in summary. Regardless of these negative effects, Nigerians celebrate every joyful occasion with alcoholic drinks; be it naming ceremonies, birthday parties, promotions and even burial ceremonies. All these are factors that enhance the consumption of alcoholic substance by adolescents. Johnson and Johnson (2000) identified some of the factors further such as dysfunctional families, cheap availability of alcohol, hereditary, gender, race, and ethnicity. According to Quine and Stephenson (1990) posited that the attitude of parents towards alcohol will also affect how children will feel about the depressant. Invariably many students who consume alcohol are from families where there low levels of parenting and emotional support and also a lack of control and monitoring of a child’s behaviour, poor family communication, inadequate family problem, solving and nagging at home. In which case, an individual’s family background plays an important role in the attitude of students’ alcoholism. Religious affiliation has also been found as an important factor that determines alcohol consumption among students. It is usually believed that religious groups have rules, ethics and guidelines that guide them. Most religion advocate mediation in all things, this principle could hence be transferred to the issue of alcohol consumption. In this study conducted by Jenkins (2013), he found out that religiously affiliated students reported less alcohol consumption than the non religion students. In a survey carried out in Ibadan, religion was found to have a significant relationship with a significant relationship with alcohol consumption(Adenuga&ijagbone,2012). Young people join different peer groups and identify themselves with these groups by participating in their activities so as not to be rejected. According to Mello(1996) he found out that alcohol consumption among students is on the increase and that they are mostly influenced to drinking alcohol by their friends and these on the other affect attitude towards school. A young person who is attached to a peer group that values anti-social activities inevitably finds it difficult to resist the encouragement of peer group members in such negative behaviour. Environmental influences on alcohol includes acceptance of alcohol use by the society, through mass media, role models and this acceptance is demonstrated by lack of formal laws enforcement and social disapproval for those who engage in dangerous drinking or create problems while drunk. This has a way of sending messages to the younger generation that such behaviour is accepted; as it intoxicates behaviours (including assaults, vandalism and public nuisance). Alcohol consumption is a serious public health challenge worldwide, including in Nigeria. Although the level of alcohol consumption differs widely around the world, the burden of disease and death remains significant in most regions, with Europe and America having the highest alcohol attributable fractions at 6.5% and 5.6%, respectively. Recent evidence also indicates that alcohol consumption is now the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and disability; almost 4% of all deaths globally are attributed to alcohol. However, alcohol is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in both young people and adults in Nigeria. Some of the factors contributing to alcohol consumption among Nigerians include the absence of alcohol policies, easy access to alcoholic drinks, and lack of implementation of a minimum drinking age by both the government and the brewers.