Abuse of psychotropic substances -a survey of some first and second cycle institutions in the Bosomtwi and Atwima-Kwanwoma Districts in Ashanti Region of Ghana

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A random survey using semi-structured questionnaires was conducted in 13 selected first and second cycle schools in the Bosomtwi and Atwima Kwanwoma Districts of Ashanti Region to ascertain the effects of increased abuse of psychotropic substances on the academic performances of 600 students interviewed at random. The psychotropic drugs identified to be abused by the students include: amphetamines; coffee; cigarette; cocaine; marijuana; alcohol and heroine. Majority (94%) of pupils abuse both coffee and alcohol and 31% of pupils abuse marijuana, amphetamine, cocaine and heroine. Although majority (about 56%) of them claim the use of these drugs had improved their academic performances, about 11% of them rather developed truant behavioral problems with abysmal academic performances in the long run. The majority (about 61%) of them also got introduced to the drugs by their families and friends. Ninety six percent of the pupils were exposed to the problem of psychotropic substances abuse at an average age of about 11.5 years. This problem is worst in pupils with single parents or divorcees and also when adolescents are in serious financial problems. Parent remittances were the main source of money for the purchase of drugs. Majority (51%) of the student drug abusers were males although females constitute 45% of the population in these schools. However, the likelihood ratio of abuse amongst male and female students were either asymptotically insignificant (P<0.07) or linearly insignificant (P<0.4). The study generally revealed little improvement in academic performances in schools with increased drug use and the District Education Oversight Committees (DEOCs) as well as Parent Teacher Associations in the two Districts need to seriously get involved in school management programs to assist the implementation of child care monitoring programmes at home and schools in order to find a lasting solution to the rampant drug abuse problem.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, April-2010