Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-71

Prevalence of psychoactive substance use among commercial motorcyclists and its health and social consequences in Zaria, Nigeria

Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
M Alti-Muazu
Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.55678

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Background : In recent years commercial motorcyclists (Okada riders) have come to bridge the huge public transport gap in most cities across the country. However, this is not without the dangers they pose to themselves, passengers and to other road users. It is claimed that some of these Okada riders operate under the influence of drugs and other substances. But there are few community-based studies that have investigated the problem in this part of Nigeria. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the prevalence, health and social consequences of psychoactive substance use among commercial motorcyclists (Okada) in Zaria, northern Nigeria. Method : Multi-stage sampling technique was used to sample commercial motorcyclists registered with commercial motorcyclists union in Zaria city, Kaduna state, Nigeria. Structured, closed ended and interviewer administered questionnaires were used to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics, factors influencing psychoactive substance use, impact on health status, motor cycle riding experience and work performance. Results : Two hundred commercial motor cyclists were interviewed, majority of them were in the age group 21-25 years (55.5%) with a mean age of 25.4±3.9 years. All the motorcyclists were male, (60.5%), had no formal education, (79.5%) are of Hausa extraction and (69%) worked for more than 10 hours per day. A high prevalence of 59.5% of road traffic accident that was associated with the use of psychoactive drugs was found among the motorcyclists. Commonly identified psychoactive substance/drugs used were: marijuana [Indian hemp] 25.8%, solution 24.5%, caffeine (Kola) 15.8%, and coffee 4.8%. Keeping awake, suppression of fatigue, and peer group effect were the identified factors influencing psychoactive substance use. The commonest types of injuries sustained were bruises and lacerations (62.5%) and fractures of upper and lower limbs (10.5%). Conclusion : Road traffic accidents among commercial motorcyclists are a frequent occurrence in this part of the country. There is need for public awareness campaigns on road safety education and health consequences of psychoactive substance use among commercial motorcyclists. It is further recommended that law enforcement agencies (NAFDAC, NDLEA and FRSC) need to work in tandem so as to curb the problem of substance abuse in our society and reduce the rate of accidents on Nigerian roads.

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